The Cherokee Nation’s transit system has a new look. Three new buses were recently wrapped with Cherokee Nation branded decals. The Cherokee Nation has worked with local transit providers KATS and Pelivan for several years but much of the public has been unaware that Cherokee Nation was involved in the partnership.
Transit officials hope the new, clearly marked buses will help create more awareness about the transit services offered by the Cherokee Nation and increase ridership along the bus routes. The wraps feature a striking red, black and white color scheme, with a subtle stickball motif.
“These buses are a wonderful addition to our Cherokee Transit System. We promote the Cherokee Transit but people only see KATS or Grand Gateway Pelivan buses. Now, with these beautifully wrapped buses, people will see the Cherokee Transit System on the road and see that we have a transit system in place and running strong,” said Sherry Waters, infrastructure data coordinator for the Cherokee Nation Roads Program.
The new buses were bought with money from the Federal Transit Administration and the Indian Reservation Roads Program at $60,561 per vehicle. The new buses will soon be seen along Cherokee Transit System’s Sallisaw-Tahlequah, Pryor-Catoosa and Salina-Tahlequah routes. Many of the riders are Cherokee Nation employees and NSU students, but the routes are open to anyone who wants to participate. And with fares that are only $1 for a round-trip ride, the savings for riders can be quite substantial.
Norma Eli works in Cherokee Nation Real Estate Services and has been riding on the Sallisaw-Tahlequah route since last summer. She estimates that she saves anywhere from $50 to $70 a week by utilizing the transit system. Eli has seen the bus she takes to and from work grow in popularity recently.
“When I first started riding the bus, there were only two or three people on it. In the last month or so, the bus has been pretty close to being full. I would recommend other people take the bus. It can save them a lot of money.”
Cherokee Nation Transit buses can hold 15 passengers in regular seating with space for two wheelchairs. The Cherokee Nation has signed lease agreements with local area transit providers and had the new buses delivered to them Dec. 20. The new buses will be on their routes soon after delivery to the lessees.
To learn more about the Cherokee Nation Transit System and for bus routes and schedules, visit http://transit.cherokee.org.