Tulsa Transit Expands Free Transit Program for Tulsa Public Schools High School Students
This school year, high school students in grades 9-12 at Tulsa Public Schools can ride the city bus free of charge, anytime of the day, and seven days a week with a valid student ID.
TPS Rides, a program offered in partnership by Tulsa Transit, Tulsa Public Schools, and Modus, was formed in 2016 in an effort to lower the school district’s transportation costs amid state budget cuts. Since the implementation of the program, Tulsa Transit has given more than 200,000 free transit rides to the district’s high school students. In previous years, the program was only available Monday-Friday; however, Tulsa Transit recently made the decision to expand the program to seven days a week to help students and families access part-time jobs and district services, such as the district’s free lunch services, tutoring, and internet hot spots. Modus, a Tulsa non-profit that trains every high school student at Tulsa Public Schools to use the city’s transit system each year through its ModusEd program, will be training the students virtually in partnership with Tulsa Public Schools.
“By transitioning TPS Rides to full week service, Tulsa Transit can provide students additional access to resources outside of the traditional classroom,” said Ted Rieck, general manager of Tulsa Transit.
In the 2019-2020 school year, 77% of Tulsa Public Schools’ students who used TPS Rides did so to access school, healthcare, work, grocery stores, social services appointments, and extra-curricular activities. With many Tulsa families struggling to access essential services amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Tulsa Transit, Tulsa Public Schools, and Modus hope the TPS Rides program can help ease the burden and remove transportation barriers.
“We are excited that our students will continue to be able to get around our city safely and access the community resources and organizations that are available to Tulsans,” said Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist. “Students participating in TPS Rides have a chance to experience the independence that comes with mobility, and this service also supports students who are providing for their families. We are grateful to Tulsa Transit for continuing this important partnership.”
Health and safety
Tulsa Transit is working closely with the Tulsa Health Department to make decisions as how to keep its riders safe on public transportation. In order to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers, Tulsa Transit will adhere to the most current COVID-19-related guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Tulsa Health Department and is implementing a new set of protocols, which will be strictly enforced.
These protocols include:
- Staggered seating to ensure safe distancing;
- Limited vehicle capacity by driver discretion; and
- Wearing face masks while traveling.
To learn about what Tulsa Transit is doing to keep riders safe, visit www.tulsatransit.org.
To learn more about the TPS Rides program, visit www.tulsaschools.org/tpsrides.