The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has a reputation for unrolling impressive rail service without the actual costs of building a rail system. This became evident recently as one of Tulsa’s Aero buses arrived at a newly erected station. The station sits at the corner where Peoria Avenue and Apache Street meet, and it sports some welcome additions to the public transit network.
Particularly noteworthy is that there is no longer a need for a ramp for wheelchairs. The station is built in a way that doesn’t require a ramp to board a bus, much like with trains.
The BRT system won’t begin operations before late fall. However, Tulsa Transit has recently allowed a glimpse into how the facilities would work upon opening. They facilitated a kind of demo of the station for the media, one of the two that will be operating at this intersection.
Plans for the BRT Project
A total of fifty stations is in the pipe for construction, 42 of them being significantly larger. The plan is to dot these facilities along the BRT route stretching some 18 miles. The majority of BRT stops will include a real-time indicator of the buses’ whereabouts. The plan is to also include audial information to accommodate the visually impaired.
All of these stations will come with leveled platforms for easier boarding, benches, overhead compartments, handrails, and bike racks.
Constrained stations (i.e., the smaller ones) will shelter passengers along Peoria Avenue. Ridership along this route has been among the lowest historically.
BRT system construction project manager Elliott Stiles said that, should the need arise, they could upgrade the smaller stations to match the standard ones. This, of course, would only take place if ridership swelled significantly in these areas.
Budget for the Project, Perks
Liann Alfaro, marketing director for the BRT, hopes that Tulsans will give this new transit a go, especially those living near Peoria Avenue. The main draws of BRT’s system include its short waiting time and its speed.
Those waiting for a ride during peak workday hours should expect a bus every 15 minutes. On Sundays, they will deploy a vehicle every 30 minutes, and 20 on Saturdays and non-peak hours. A novel piece of tech contributes largely to this kind of speed. With it, buses may extend green light time enough for them to pass through intersections.
Tulsa plans to delegate $20 million to the realization of these plans. Meanwhile, Tulsa Transit will commit $3.3 million to operating this system for the fiscal year of 2020. Among these costs is the operating of Route 105, which the BRT is in the process of absorbing.
Alfaro sees the BRT project as great progress for Tulsa. She encourages people to at least give the transit system one chance to see if it suits them.
As of yet, there is no information concerning the precise date when these new stations will begin operating. Some reports place the deadline as far back as late November.