CART bus routes on OU’s campus will remain the same and continue to be run by the university, while off-campus routes will be run by the City of Norman beginning later this summer.
The university will continue operating campus shuttles, including the Lloyd Noble Center shuttle, the apartment loop, campus loop and research shuttle, said Kris Glenn, OU director of parking and transportation.
OU and the City of Norman have been working on a transition for CART since Aug. 28, 2018 which is expected to happen sometime between July 1 and Aug. 2, Glenn said.
“We’ve put a lot of heavy lifting into it, and we’re just finalizing details at this point,” Glenn said. “We have a great working relationship with the City of Norman, and we anticipate a smooth transition. The future of CART is, we really want to take care of our students, faculty and staff.”
While CART previously received federal funding through the City of Norman to run its routes, Glenn said OU will no longer receive federal funding after the change. The student transit fee, which Glenn said was always involved with CART’s funding, will be a main component of OU’s university-based funding.
OU’s campus shuttle routes will continue to be free for student use, Glenn said.
While the details of the transition are still being arranged, Glenn said the university’s goal is to work with the city to ensure students can still ride on city routes fare-free.
Following OU’s June 13 reduction in force, interim OU president Joseph Harroz said in a letter to the OU community that CART drivers employed by OU would likely have an opportunity to be employed by the city after the transition.
“Following conversations with the city,” Harroz said in the letter, “we believe many of the people affected (by the reduction in force) will be picked up for employment by the new city bus service provider chosen by Norman.”
While it is unclear at this time how many CART drivers employed by the university may have been affected in the 69-person reduction in force, Harroz said in the letter that CART transportation was one of three areas where “the majority of those impacted by (the reduction in force)” were employed.
The university statement announcing the reduction in force said the university is retaining 14 drivers.
“In some cases, OU employees who operate the CART system will remain on staff in order to continue the campus shuttle service,” according to the statement. “CART employees not retained by OU will have the opportunity to apply for positions with the new transit service operated by the City of Norman. The system transition will occur Aug. 2. Those employees affected by the CART reduction will be paid through Aug. 13 (60-day notice pay and will then receive their severance benefits).”