Cherokee Nation switches to environmentally friendly transit buses

February 5, 2015

(L to R) Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., Tribal Councilor Curtis Snell, Tribal Council Speaker Tina Glory-Jordan, Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Roads Director Michael Lynn and Transportation Planner Rob Endicott stand in front of four new compressed natural gas transit buses.(L to R) Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., Tribal Councilor Curtis Snell, Tribal Council Speaker Tina Glory-Jordan, Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Roads Director Michael Lynn and Transportation Planner Rob Endicott stand in front of four new compressed natural gas transit buses.

Tribe’s four compressed natural gas buses arrive

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation replaced several gas-powered transit buses this week with new environmentally friendly buses that run on compressed natural gas.

Four new buses that will shuttle Cherokee citizens to health appointments, jobs and grocery stores arrived this week. They will not only save the tribe on fuel costs, but also reduce emission levels.

The Cherokee Nation bought the CNG buses using a $300,000 Federal Transit Administration grant they received last spring. Cherokee Nation was one of two tribes in Oklahoma to receive the funds.

“Transitioning our bus fleet to CNG means the Cherokee Nation transportation efforts are now more environmentally friendly, more efficient and more cost effective in the long term. By using CNG, we’ll be able to get better miles per gallon, stretch our dollars and lead by example,” said Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “Because Oklahoma is an international leader in CNG production, we are utilizing a local fuel source to power the Cherokee Nation’s fleet. That supports good jobs in Oklahoma.”

More tribal and Cherokee Nation citizens are using the subsidized transit program. In 2014, the Cherokee Nation estimates it provided 80,000 rides, up from 50,000 rides in 2013. The tribe contracts with four transportation companies to offer low-cost fixed or on-demand route transit services in northeast Oklahoma. Fixed route trips cost citizens, and the public, just $1 roundtrip. The Cherokee Nation will lease three of the CNG transit buses to Ki Bois Area Transit System, which has routes in Adair, Cherokee, McIntosh, Sequoyah and Wagoner counties, and one bus to Pelivan Transit, which has services in Craig, Delaware, Mayes, Nowata, Ottawa, Rogers and north Tulsa counties.

“Our contracted providers likely would not have the funds to purchase buses like these on their own, so by us providing these more efficient vehicles and them providing the service, it’s beneficial to our entire community,” said Michael Lynn, director of Cherokee Nation Roads Department. “It ensures our Cherokee Nation citizens and the rest of the general public have quality and reliable transportation and that we are good stewards of the environment.”

For more information on the Cherokee Nation Transit Program or the contracted transit providers, call 800-256-0671 or visit www.transit.cherokee.org.