GROVE — With only a few minor changes, Pelivan Transit continues to operate despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are following CDC (Center for Disease Control) guidelines and have had to implement some changes to our service as far as protocol,” said Kendra McGeady, Pelivan Transit director.

Pelivan provides public transportation in Ottawa, Craig, Delaware, Mayes, northern Tulsa and Rogers counties.

In operation since 1985, it is owned and operated by Grand Gateway Economic Development Association based in Big Cabin.

McGeady said new seating policies have been implemented, limiting close contact to others by maintaining a safe distance on the service’s larger buses.

Minivans can carry as many as four passengers per trip and as a shared ride program, that is a requirement of the Federal Transit Administration, but at this point, it’s only one rider per van, per trip, McGeady said.

“As a rural transit provider, we do demand response service and a lot of times our riders utilize us on a very regular basis, so they become friends with their drivers and so oftentimes, they will sit in the front seat,” she said. “We’ve had to ax that; no one in the front seat at all.”

Another change has passengers entering and exiting through the rear door on the bigger buses.

“We are disinfecting between trips, just practicing routine cleaning and disinfecting for our drivers,” McGeady said. “We’ve been providing them with all the PPE we’ve been able to get our hands on.”

She said maintenance coordinator Diane Reasor has been making facemasks and has been bagging them up individually, even giving some to riders.

Trips are being prioritized by medical then nutrition needs, but there have been no cuts in routes,” McGeady said.

Service in Grove is available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

To schedule a ride, call 918-786-7516.

There also are 10 tribal jurisdictional areas within the Pelivan Transit service territory: the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma, Ottawa, Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, Quapaw Nation, Seneca-Cayuga Nation, Shawnee Tribe, Wyandotte Nation and Cherokee Nation.

The service has grown from six vans to a fleet of 67 vehicles that include ADA equipped mini-vans with ramps and ADA shuttle buses with lifts.

Vehicle capacities range from four to 38.

Rates for the general public is $3 one way for ages 5 through 59 and $2 one way for those 60 and older.

When trips are scheduled 24 hours in advance, riders will receive a $1 discount for that day.

Rates beyond city zones (upon availability) are $2 per mile.

For Native American riders with a CDIB or tribal citizenship card, the rate is 50 cents one way.

The fare for Cherokee Nation work routes is 50 cents one way and free on Fridays.

Officials at Pelivan are also working with the Grand Gateway Area Agency on Aging to provide home meal delivery for senior citizens.

“The public has been so understanding through this,” McGeady said. “We really appreciate that, because it’s such a challenging time for everyone. We understand that access to services is so important, but right now we are just having to curtail things a little bit, but the public has been wonderful.”