LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - For the past 6 months Lawton Public Schools piloted a program with Lawton Area Transit allowing secondary students to use the system anytime, even to transport them to and from school. Because of the program's success LPS plans to use it for the upcoming school year.
If they miss the bus early in the morning time or they need to stay after school for extra-curricular activities the Lawton Area Transit is there when they need it.
"Whether they are staying for a sporting event or just to study after school or to get extra help with a teacher this is going to be an opportunity for those students and the good part is that the opportunity doesn't stop on the weekends. On Saturdays they will transport the staff and students as well to different locations if they have jobs," Smith said.
Executive Director of Operations for Lawton Public Schools Kyle Smith said the district will extend their contract with LATS starting this month until June of 2018 for 70,000 dollars. It will cover the cost of the program making it free for secondary students in 6th through 12th grade, and faculty and staff with an I-D to ride for free.
General Manager for Lawton Area Transit System Ryan Landers was surprised by the number of secondary students who used LATS during this spring's pilot program.
"We had over 20,000 trips for the 6 months. Every time a student gets on that's what's called a trip and so we had over 20,000 trips, this is huge for a trial service and students were taking advantage of the after school activities," said Landers.
LATS will have 9 routes and a shuttle that goes to and from Fort Sill during the week, and services on the weekend as well. Landers said his biggest goal is to inform parents about the service. On Saturday, LATS will have different training sessions for free at local middle and high schools for parents to not only see the buses but ask questions. Each bus has security cameras and all drivers are certified so safety is not a issue.
"The best benefit is the piece of mind to where a parent wont have to leave work to go pick up a student and drive them back to an activity or pick them up from an activity they can actually just ride on the bus and get home," said Landers.
The free sessions will start Saturday July 29, at Eisenhower Middle and High Schools at 9 a.m. in the morning, they will visit Tomlinson Middle School at 11 a.m., before heading to Central Middle School and Lawton High at 1 p.m., and end with MacArthur Middle and High Schools at 3 p.m. The sessions will be held in the parking lot. LATS will be there providing information.
The second training session will be held Wednesday August, 9th.