“I feel extremely happy and proud of my drivers and staff,” says Tina Lowery, Director of Central Oklahoma Transit System (COTS). “Winning the State award for ‘Safety and Training’ means a lot to all of us at COTS and Central Oklahoma Community Action Agency (COCAA),” she added.

The award was announced, and presented, during the Oklahoma Transit Association’s (OTA)  annual conference in May. This year’s conference was held in Durant, Oklahoma.

This is not the first time that COTS has won an award in safety related issues; in 2018 COTS driver Vicky Wilson was recognized with an award, by OTA, for her ‘pre-trip safety checks’.  “The safety of our passengers and staff is very important to us,” says Lowery.

In addition to regular ongoing health and safety training for all of the drivers, Lowery and her staff ensure that all the vehicles go through a strict regular maintenance program and a daily ‘pre-trip’ inspection by each of the drivers. To ensure further safety of the passengers and drivers Ms. Lowery had all of the COTS and COCAA vehicles fitted with a vehicle safety and monitoring system that lets her know exactly where any company vehicle is at any point in time and the speed that the vehicle is traveling at. Each vehicle is also fitted with an ‘emergency alert’ button that will allow the driver to summon immediate help for them or their passengers in any kind of emergency.

Both COTS and its parent agency, Central Oklahoma Community Action Agency are pleased that Governor Kevin Stitt recently signed House Bill 1365. This Bill will “implement innovative pilot programs” with a goal to “ensure the mobility needs of all Oklahomans are met in a safe, affordable, reliable, consistent and coordinated fashion.”

Barbara Loudermilk, COCAA’s Executive Director, says, “this bill has the potential to positively help other small communities that do not have an active transportation system like COTS.” “Hopefully, the ‘Office of Mobility and Public Transit’ created under the new law will offer us grants that will allow us to expand our services to this and other communities,” she adds.

“All of our COTS vehicles are ADA accessible and available to take people to medical appointments, shopping, work and leisure appointments. People need to call 405-273-3000 to make an advance reservation,” said Ms. Loudermilk.