The Oxford-University Transit system is adding two new routes to the city and university bus system and buying seven new buses in 2016.
The Board of Alderman officially approved the new routes at their meeting on Tuesday, which will create the Safe Ride and Grey routes. Currently, there are nine O.U.T. bus routes, and Safe Ride and Grey routes will create 11 routes.
Actually, the Safe Ride route, which is a late night route, has been running for a few weeks. The Grey route is set to start running in the fall.
According to Tim Akers, the transit director, who wrote the financial report and presented the new routes to the aldermen, the transit system expects to carry over 1.5 million passengers in 2016; the system carried 1.362 million in 2015. The new buses will be assets to the new routes.
Funding and Expanding
Oxford University Transit is funded by the FTA Section 5311 Rural Transportation Grant Program administered by MDOT. The program pays for 50 percent of all program costs and 80 percent of capital and administrative costs.
Due to two new routes, a higher expectation of passengers and keeping up with regulations, seven new buses are to be purchased through the grant; two 18-passenger buses and five 40-foot low floor buses.
The total operating budget for transit system for 2016 is $5.2 million, which is up from the previous budget of $3.7 million due to the new routes and buses. The city share is $577,390, and the university share is $1.2 million for 2016.
Safe Ride is only offered in the spring and fall semesters at night from Thursday through Saturday. The route makes stops at the Federal Building on the Square, Sorority Row, North Gate, Crosby, Minor Hall and Paris-Yates Chapel. The bus runs every 10 minutes from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. on Thursday and Friday nights 9 p.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday night.
The Grey route will be a regular Monday through Friday route, which will expand transit services from the Square to the Oxford High School and Oxford Commons.
Emily Newton is a staff writer for hottytoddy.com and the editor of Experience Oxford magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.