TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - The Cherokee Nation provided six vans to four Northeast Oklahoma transit service companies that help provide rides for thousands of Cherokee Nation citizens and employees each year.
The six vans were disbursed among Ki Bois Area Transit System (KATS), Pelivan, Cimarron and Muskogee County Transit, with KATS and Pelivan each receiving two new vans and Cimarron and Muskogee County Transit each receiving one.
"Many of our Cherokee Nation citizens rely on these four public transportation services to get to and from work, school, the grocery store and their medical appointments on a daily basis," Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden said. "Easy, affordable transportation remains an essential part of life. I'm proud of the Cherokee Nation for helping ensure these transit services meet those transportation needs, not only for our citizens but for non-Cherokees as well."
The Ford 350 Transit vans were purchased through a Federal Transit Administration grant worth more than $321,500, with an additional $46,200 being provided through Cherokee Nation Tribal Transportation Program funds.
"Getting two more vans from Cherokee Nation is a blessing," said Charla Sloan, director of Ki Bois Area Transit System.
KATS operates more than 200 buses and vans in a 12-county area providing curb-to-curb, and in some circumstances door-to-door, on-demand transportation.
"Replacing two old vans with high mileage with two new vans that are more efficient and safer is better for the riders and KATS," Sloan said. "Partnering with Cherokee Nation has been great for the people and great for KATS. It helps us maximize funding from the state and federal government that benefits the people with reliable transportation. More vehicles on the road opens the door to opportunity for Cherokee Nation citizens."
In fiscal year 2017, Cherokee Nation invested nearly $265,000 in federal Tribal Transportation Program funding to enhance several area transit program operations, which totaled 102,148 rides. Each year, the tribe uses a portion of its TTP funds to provide additional transit services for both Cherokee Nation citizens and the general public.
Native Americans and tribal employees can access rides on fixed routes and on demand service transit buses for $1 roundtrip. For more information on Cherokee Nation Transit Services or the contracted transit providers, call 800-256-0671 or visit http://transit.cherokee.org.