OKLAHOMA CITY – During the annual Oklahoma Transit Association (OTA) Awards banquet, EMBARK was honored as the 2021 Transit System of the Year. The award is EMBARK’s second OTA Transit System of the Year award. EMBARK was named the North American Outstanding Public Transit System by the American Public Transportation Association in 2016.
EMBARK was honored based on its resilience and relentless commitment to its community and prioritizing strategic planning and customer engagement. Throughout the pandemic, EMBARK quickly implemented safety protocols for employees and customers. As a result, EMBARK has not lost any days of bus service. In addition, the community’s senior customers were provided a free vaccine transportation service, free courier delivery services to support safer at-home orders and expansion of non-emergency medical transportation services. The agency’s community commitment grew when it partnered with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, Oklahoma County Senior Nutrition and Community Action Agency to ensure customers could access essential food and medical services. During the same period, EMBARK pressed forward with internal and external strategic planning initiatives that will shape the future of public transit in the greater Oklahoma City area.
“EMBARK’s perseverance and response to COVID-19 and extreme winter weather demonstrates a commitment to improving mobility and access for their service community,” said Ted Rieck, Board President of the Oklahoma Transit Association. “At the same time, their willingness to place importance on an innovative approach to a strategic plan during such a significant time reinforces EMBARK’s ability to envision the future of public transit in central Oklahoma regardless of the challenges that may arise.”
The ceremony took place on May 20, also named EMBARK’s Mobility Management Administrator Dr. Marilyn Dillon as its Transit Professional of the Year.
“Marilyn’s passion for our community is remarkable. She has worked hard to remove barriers to improve access to public transportation for all our customers,” said Jason Ferbrache, EMBARK Administrator. “Our vision to be world-class transportation that is accessible to all, and all want to access it requires bold professionals like Marilyn.”
Since joining EMBARK in 2016, Dillon has launched the EMBARK Well Senior Health and Wellness Transportation Program, the CLIMB Ride Program, coordinated partnerships with the Palomar Family Justice Center to explore micro-transit solutions for social service agencies and more. In addition, she served as EMBARK’s representative in the development of Oklahoma’s first Public Transit Policy Plan.
Both awards were given at the 2021 Oklahoma Transit Association Annual Conference & EXPO in Enid, Oklahoma.
EMBARK is the business unit of the Central Oklahoma Transportation & Parking Authority (COTPA) – a public trust administered by the City of Oklahoma City.
EMBARK’s vision is to be world-class transportation that is accessible to all, and all want to access it. EMBARK’s mission is to be a self-sustaining transportation network that removes barriers of location and socioeconomic status, while elevating the status and use of public transportation so all of central Oklahoma can safely and quickly reach their destination.