In Tulsa we have no dedicated funding source for public transportation. This means we must compete with public safety, public works and all the other city departments for general fund dollars. Each year the city administration and the city council struggle to fund as many programs as possible with the tax revenues they have.
All of this makes public advocacy for public transportation very important. In our area the users of the public transit system are not politically active. When the gentleman at the downtown station came up to me and started complaining, I asked him "Who is your city councilor?"
"I don't know" was his response. "Where do you live," I asked. He told me where he lived and I informed him that his city councilor was standing right next to me. He then began to focus his transit-related questions on the new city councilor, who handled them quite well.
Whenever a public transit user asks me how we can improve our system I ask them the same questions I asked the man at the station. Almost without exception they do not know who their local elected representatives are, much less how to contact them. This lack of involvement in the political process by public transit users makes advocating for public transit funding all the more difficult.
To deal with these issues we have tried to be vigilant in our efforts to educate our customers on how the process works. Our staff members and board members know how to inform people on who to contact regarding increased local funding for public transportation.
Manager's Forum goes to the front lines of the transit industry to
get feedback on different topics
relevant to passenger transportation — and we want to hear from you! If you have an idea for discussion or would like to voice your opinion, please contact Leah Harnack
at (920) 563-6388 Ext. 1535 or via
email at firstname.lastname@example.org.