By: Deanna Rebro | Category: Other | Issue: August 2008
Cynthia Staab, Tulsa Transit assistant general manager, and Bill Cartwright, general manager, show one of the buses available for free shuttle service to and from the new BOK Center.
Tulsa Transit will provide quick, easy, safe and free shuttles to and from select major events at the new BOK Center. Bill Cartwright, general manager of Tulsa Transit, says that three zones have been mapped out for service to the BOK Center on the corner of 3rd St. and Denver Ave.
The first zone runs from 1st St. to 4th St. between Cheyenne Ave. and Elgin Ave. It includes 4,488 parking spaces and is the area most BOK patrons will likely use. The second zone extends to OSU-Tulsa and the Greenwood area and the third to Tulsa Community College.
The zones include surface, multi-story, underground and metered on-street parking for a total of 11,878 spaces. Parking rates in private lots vary. Some lots, as well as metered parking, are free after 5 p.m.
Cartwright explains that the Tulsa Transit/BOK Center project is a work in progress. “This is a first for Tulsa. We will learn the various needs as we go along,” he said.
BOK Center General Manager John Bolton agrees, adding that they are carefully analyzing the situation, in particular how to deal with multiple downtown events happening at once. “What’s going on at the Performing Arts Center, the Convention Center, Cain’s Ballroom, and the Jazz Hall of Fame concurrently with a BOK Center event will significantly impact the parking situation and the need for shuttle service.”
The term “perfect storm” has been designated for an instance in which all or nearly all venues are hosting entertainment or sports events at one time. Cartwright says they have a solid plan in place for such a situation and are prepared to provide as many buses as needed.
Some people, especially those in groups, may choose to walk the 10 minutes or less to and from the BOK Center. According to Cartwright, many Tulsans have a negative perception of downtown, but police department crime statistics are relatively low for that area. For a variety of reasons, many BOK patrons will prefer to park and ride the shuttle.
Cartwright estimates that the first buses will begin circling around 6:30 p.m., after regular service routes. Parking signage will be in place, as will volunteers serving as arena ambassadors. These ambassadors will direct motorists, hand out guides and answer questions. Buses will be in a staging area adjacent to the BOK Center’s front entrance immediately following a major event.
Cynthia Staab, Tulsa Transit assistant general manager, says that each bus carries a total of 50 people, seated and standing. The ride to the farthest point should take about four minutes, so the buses can quickly return to the BOK Center to pick up more passengers.
The decision on which upcoming events will include shuttle service has yet to be made. The Tulsa Transit website, www.tulsatransit.org, will offer all updated information as it becomes available. You can also call (918) 582-2100 to find out more.
Deanna Rebro has worked in the publishing industry 30+ years, including eight years writing for Value News. She has also worked in real estate for the past six years. Deanna graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio with a B.A. in Journalism. Outside of work, she serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for Pet Adoption League. “Every story I write is a learning experience,” she said.