History: How It All Began
The seeds for OATS were first sown in 1970 when a group of Missourians returned from a White House Conference on Aging in which transportation was cited as a barrier for many seniors, especially in rural areas.
Thanks to a grant from Missouri’s Office on Aging, coupled with technical assistant from the University of Missouri’s Extension Division, this group of volunteers was able to form the Cooperative Transportation Service (CTS). They purchased 3 buses and hired 4 employees.
Fostered by the extensive need for transportation, the organization grew exponentially and by 1973 was located in over 80 Missouri counties. That same year, Cooperative Transportation Service became a non-profit organization and changed its name to Older Adults Transportation Service, or OATS. OATS no longer stands for “Older Adults Transportation Service”…our official name is OATS, Inc.
OATS is a public transportation system that is available to everyone, regardless of age, race, gender, color, religion, or national origin, and in fact serves a wide diversity of clientele.
Today, OATS serves 34,000 people in Missouri. OATS serves clientele of all ages including those with disabilities or financial struggles who are in need of the services OATS provides. In 2012, OATS provided 1,702,272 one-way trips with a fleet of 700 vehicles and a staff of 750.
For more information about the service OATS provides, read our Fiscal Year 2012 Annual Report.