Veterans' Ride Connect provides veterans with safe, reliable and local transportation services throughout more than 25 counties.
BIG CABIN, Okla., October 23, 2017 (Veterans' Ride Connect) -- What began with a mission to provide safe and reliable transportation to enhance the quality of life of the more than 118,000 veterans living in northeast Oklahoma has now become a ground-breaking agency that is realizing that goal on a daily basis.
Veterans’ Ride Connect is a cooperative agency of transit providers working together to get veterans where they need to go. The consortium provides services throughout more than 25 counties, including Adair, Cherokee, Craig, Creek, Delaware, Haskell, Hughes, Kay, Latimer, Le Flore, Mayes, McIntosh, Muskogee, Nowata, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Pittsburg, Rogers, part of Seminole, Sequoyah, Tulsa, Wagoner and Washington.
The Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative (VTCLI), a program of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration, awards grants to local transportation providers and other groups so they can better coordinate and deliver important transit information through “one-call” or “one-click” centers.
The Indian Nations Council of Governments (INCOG) was awarded two consecutive VTCLI grants to create a 25-county one-call center coordinating transportation in and around the Tulsa and Muskogee Veterans Administration medical clinics, incorporating urban, rural, tribal, Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and VA transportation.
An invitation to participate in the project went out to transit providers across the region, and six well-known and well-established transit services responded. The six founding transit providers — Pelivan Transit, KI BOIS Area Transit (KATS), Cimarron Public Transit System, Morton Comprehensive Health Services, Muskogee County Transit Authority and Muscogee (Creek) Nation — saw the need for coordinating transportation resources for veterans and understood the importance such a system would be for the veteran community of northeast Oklahoma. These transit agencies now work together as Veterans’ Ride Connect.
Pelivan Transit in Big Cabin, Okla., offered to use its Call Center as the central hub for the project. The grants helped facilitate the upgrades needed at the existing location, bringing about a state-of-the-art call center and the technology to support it. The project was completed in late 2015.
Today, veterans with transportation needs anywhere in the service area only have to make one call to the Veterans’ Ride Connect call center at (855) 735-4826 to learn about transportation options and to schedule a ride.
Veterans’ Ride Connects services are provided to all veterans, regardless of age or financial status. Any person who has served in a military force is considered to be a veteran.
There are fees for the transportation services but an ongoing goal of the consortium is to bring veterans’ costs down through donations and grants.
All of the Veterans’ Ride Connect transit agencies use ADA-compliant vehicles, including mini vans and shuttle buses. And, its drivers are highly trained in wheelchair securement and all other aspects of transit safety.
Veterans answered the call of duty and served their country. Veterans’ Ride Connect is now ready to answer the call and be there for them.
For more information about Veterans’ Ride Connect, visit its website at http://www.veteransrideconnect.org/ or on Facebook at Veterans Ride Connect.
ABOUT VETERANS’ RIDE CONNECT
Veterans’ Ride Connect is the first-ever mobility management center in Oklahoma. This ground-breaking agency is the first of its kind with the six founding transit providers working together to provide transportation services to veterans in more than 25 counties. The transit providers who make up the Veterans’ Ride Connect consortium include Pelivan Transit, KI BOIS Area Transit (KATS), Cimarron Public Transit System, Morton Comprehensive Health Services, Muskogee County Transit Authority and Muscogee (Creek) Nation. All transits are invited to join Veterans’ Ride Connect in this noble endeavor.
Lisa Boren, Veterans’ Ride Connect regional mobility manager (918) 244-6288
Rides to Wellness Oklahoma Initiative: The project community is an informally defined, multi-county region, broad-based coalition consisting of member partners of the Rides to Wellness Oklahoma Initiative. The Initiative was started in April of 2015 and is currently 90 member partners strong, representing hospitals, clinics, state departments, health departments, users, and social service agencies who serve 40 rural Oklahoma counties. The community performs outreach and education, seeking new member partners to act as stakeholders to seek solutions for transportation disadvantaged.
To learn more about how you and your organization can partner, contact:
Laura A. Corff, Transit Director
United Community Action Program, Inc.
2101 North Fourteenth Street, Suite 129
Ponca City, OK 74601
EMBARK: Modern Streetcar Brand Strategy Revealed
July 28, 2016
Oklahoma City— EMBARK unveiled Bermuda Green, Clear Sky Blue and Redbud as the colors for the brand identity of the MAPS 3’s Oklahoma City Streetcar. Three color palettes were revealed to show each of the six streetcars painted with a saturated, tonal color palette.
“Our use of color is bold and modern. It’s significant of where we are as a city – our growth over the past decade, and reflects EMBARK’s bold optimism,” says Jason Ferbrache, EMBARK administrator. “Stakeholders told us they wanted modern, forward-thinking, unique and approachable. That’s what we delivered.”
The next steps are construction of the maintenance facility scheduled to start in August; laying down the rails that the vehicles will travel on, scheduled to start later this year; and design of the 22 stops along the route. The 4.6-mile route will connect downtown, Bricktown, Midtown, the Arts District and Automobile Alley and circulate every 10-12 minutes. The streetcar is expected to be in operation by the end of 2018.
The MAPS 3 Modern Streetcar will be named the Oklahoma City Streetcar, which can be abbreviated as OKC Streetcar. It will be for everyone who works, visits, or lives downtown, will be ADA compliant and will be a part of EMBARK’s family of transit services.
“I can’t wait,” says Sherry Dale, owner of Mettise, an organizational consulting group. She lives in northwest Oklahoma City, her clients are all over the city and she has meetings in the downtown area several times a week. “I’m looking forward to the streetcar so that when I visit clients downtown, I can get between meetings and lunch without having to move my car from garage to garage or risk a ticket at a meter when a meeting runs over.”
The brand strategy was created by Spoke, a branding firm in Portland, OR with input from stakeholders. EMBARK and Spoke solicited input through multiple meetings, focus groups and surveys. That process uncovered common themes and opinions.
“Our research in Oklahoma City and conversations with residents and stakeholders showed us a warm city that is energetic and confident. We were inspired by the changing aesthetics and the city’s success in revitalizing the core,” says Brian Kerr, principal of Spoke. “The OKC Streetcar is an ambitious, forward-thinking project. Its strengths lie in framing a network for building community and being a catalyst for economic growth. Over and over, we heard stakeholders tell us they wanted straightforward, connected and approachable. The streetcar symbol is inspired by the shape of the streetcar, combined with that sense of connection and an oblique reference to the EMBARK brand arrow. It evokes motion, fluidity, forward-thinking and ease of transit.”
EMBARK is the business unit of the Central Oklahoma Transportation & Parking Authority (COTPA) – a public trust administered by the City of Oklahoma City. EMBARK is responsible for providing safe, efficient and convenient public transportation and downtown parking solutions to the greater Oklahoma City area.
COTPA is celebrating 50 years of leadership in providing public transit and downtown parking services to Oklahoma’s capital city.