Bus routes may run later in Oxford

By The Associated Press

OXFORD — In response to the results of a survey of University of Mississippi students, the Oxford-University Transit Commission is considering extending bus service until 9 p.m. on all routes.

The Oxford Eagle reports the possible schedule change is in response to the results of a survey of University of Mississippi students.

Transit commissioners earlier this week considered budget scenarios for 2013-14 budget, which must be approved in January so it can be submitted to the Mississippi Department of Transportation by February to be eligible to apply for transportation grants. The grants pay 80 percent of capital costs and 50 percent of the operational costs of the public bus system.

To extend all bus routes to 9 p.m., the budget would rise to $1.85 million.

Oxford city officials would have to agree to financial support.

Mayor Pat Patterson said he wasn’t sure most of the routes would be used after 7 p.m., but would support as try-out.

“If this is what you all want to do, let’s do it,” he said.

However, the Board of Aldermen would still have to approve.

Transit Commissioner Isaac Astill, who is the university’s transit director, said the school is considering how much it is willing to increase its contribution to provide the later service.

“We’re getting hammered pretty hard by students who are saying 6:30 p.m. just isn’t late enough,” Astill said.

Transit Manager Ron Briggs reported 68,310 people rode the buses in November.

With the extended service, the 22 buses now in service would experience more wear and tear, said Tim Lett with McDonald Transit, the company that manages the bus service.

New buses cost about $350,000, but state grants would pay for 80 percent of the costs.

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Information from: Oxford Eagle, http://www.oxfordeagle.com