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Owasso first city to debut regional on-demand public transportation pilot program
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Owasso first city to debut regional on-demand public transportation pilot program

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Owasso will soon serve as the launching pad for a 24-month transportation pilot program.

PICK Transportation, a new on-demand regional transit system, is scheduled to debut in the Owasso community on Tuesday, June 1. The forthcoming initiative will provide area residents an accessible shared ride service they can book through a web portal or smartphone app.

Kendra McGeady, transit director at Pelivan Transit out of Big Cabin, recently launched PICK, which utilizes Uber technology to give those in need of transportation a more localized and streamlined approach to traveling.

“We’ll be the first transit system where you’re going to have a public transit dropdown in the Uber app, so it’s incredibly innovative,” McGeady said. “We just hope to provide a better, more efficient, more flexible public transportation system.”

McGeady’s organization, Pelivan Transit, along with JAMM Transit, Cimarron Transit and Ki BOIS Area Transit System, have all partnered to launch PICK, and received a $1.5 million Innovative Mobility Grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation to carry out the project.

The funding will provide Owasso with a fleet of three new vehicles that — unlike other current public transportation methods — will offer local citizens of all ages after-hours rides six days a week, Monday-Friday, 5-10 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

“We’re trying to tap into people who take six or eight people and go eat … and then we can take them home,” McGeady said. “This after-hours transportation service, I feel, is going to free them up to be more flexible in their lives.”

Patricia Dinoa, mobility manager at Pelivan Transit, who has worked closely with McGeady in developing PICK, added, “People who have to go somewhere, especially if they don’t have a car … I think this is a great opportunity for everybody.”

McGeady said she and her team chose Owasso as the platform for the pilot because of its ongoing residential and commercial development, which makes it conducive for a new transit option.

“I just felt like the community, the geography of Owasso, is a little bit busier of a community … so we just selected Owasso as the first rollout,” she said. “I’m excited about a better quality of life for some of (the) citizens here in Owasso and what this is going to mean to them.”

Owasso is among 21 rural communities that will adopt PICK in June. One community from each transit provider will roll out the program during the first week of the month, including Atoka, Bartlesville and Tahlequah.

The remaining communities — Claremore, Cleveland, Eufaula, Grove, Madil, McAlester, Miami, Okmulgee, Ponca City, Poteau, Pryor, Sallisaw, Sapulpa, Skiatook, Sulphur, Tishomingo and Vinita — will begin service over the remainder of the month.

“We thought, ‘Why not start it here in rural (Owasso) and let it branch out?’” McGeady said. “We’re very excited and pleased with the progress of the project, and we look forward to rolling it out in this community.”

Owasso residents can start using PICK Transportation within the Uber app on June 1. Three public transit vehicles will be based in the parking lot of the Owasso Community Center to meet the traveling needs of residents.

More information can be found at okpicktransportation.com.

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