By Alyssa Schnugg
Oxford-University Transit is gearing up for the arrival of the University of Mississippi students next week in what is expected to be an unpredictable fall semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In July, 3,567 people rode the OUT buses. In March, OUT stopped charging for bus rides. On Wednesday during the OUT Commission meeting, General Manager Donna Zampella said OUT will continue to keep bus rides free for everyone through at least the end of the year.
UM Director of Parking Sam Patterson told the commission the University plans on continuing its SafeRide service this semester. The SafeRide bus provides students transportation to and from the Square at night. With restaurants currently required to close at 10 p.m., Patterson said the SafeRide busses will likely run from 7 to 11 p.m.
“SafeRide is important to the university’s leadership and to parents who like knowing the service is available,” he said Wednesday.
Patterson said he will speak to drivers after SafeRide starts on Aug. 24 and re-evaluate the service times after gaining the driver’s input.
The schedule for fall routes will start on Aug. 17, according to Zampella. Most buses on the regular routes will run from 6 a.m to 8 p.m.
The routes and bus times are available to view on OUT’s new website, www.OUtransit.com.
The website is up and running but is still under construction, and parts of the new site are still being updated.