Several hubs could replace old center
Adjustments in operational hours and routes are not the only changes that could be made to Lawton's mass transit system.
LATS, its operator McDonald Transit Associates and the Lawton Metropolitan Planning Organization are all working with a consultant hired in 2015 to analyze LATS routes, ridership and other factors of the system, then recommend changes. Those recommendations would prompt the first significant changes imposed since the system began operations in spring 2002, and the results of that system analysis are expected to be presented this spring.
LATS General Manager Ryan Landers said the analysis is in the final stages, and city and mass transit officials are waiting for a final version from the consultant so its recommendations can go through city committees for discussion.
The City Transit Trust, which makes decisions about the mass transit system for the City of Lawton, gave LATS permission last week to seek Requests for Qualifications so it can hire a firm to do conceptual designs for one suggestion that already has been made public: create new bus hubs beyond the single transfer center that has been located at Southwest B Avenue and Southwest 4th Street since LATS began operations. That proposal includes a new hub at Northwest 52nd Street and Cheyenne, a hub at a new location in downtown Lawton on Southwest C Avenue, and a new transfer center at Southwest 17th Street and West Lee Boulevard.
Deborah Jones, the city's mass transit liaison, said an engineering firm will be hired to design those conceptual plans before moving into construction drawings. She said LATS intends to send out Requests for Qualifications by the end of the month, then come back to the City Transit Trust with its recommendation this spring. A grant from the Federal Transit Administration will cover 80 percent of that cost, with LATS responsible for the remaining 20 percent.