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City approves new LATS management company

The City of Lawton will begin transitioning to a new manager for its mass transit system under action taken Tuesday by the City Transit Trust.

Members of the City Council, acting in their capacity as the transit trust, agreed Tuesday to approve a new operating agreement with Hendrickson Transportation Group LLC, the lone applicant when city and transit officials began searching for a new firm to handle daily operations for LATS, Lawton’s mass transit system. McDonald Transit has operated the system since LATS began operations in spring 2001, but that firm was purchased by RATP DEV in 2018.

The city’s existing contract, now held by RATP DEV, expires in February 2020, and earlier this year, the city advertised for proposals from firms interested in operations. RATP DEV did not submit an operations proposal.

Hendrickson Transportation Group was created by a former McDonald Transit partner, one of the reasons that a review committee ultimately accepted the proposal even though that firm has been in operations only five years, said Ward 4 Councilman Jay Burk, committee chair. That short tenure initially caused concerns, committee members said.

Burk said the new managing firm will keep Ryan Landers, the current LATS manager, as the new general manager, another point in its favor.

The Lawton Constitution

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