Extra buses head for Oxford

OXFORD – Aldermen are expected tonight to authorize Mayor Pat Patterson to accept transfer of five transit buses from the city of Charlotte, N.C., to the city of Oxford.
The buses will enable Oxford-University Transit to expand from its current two routes – basically east-west and north-south from the Square – to a five-route schedule that traverses most parts of the University of Mississippi campus.
“They’ve got some miles on them, but they still run. These are large, 30-foot, 28-passenger transit buses,” said City Planner Tim Akers.
Charlotte will deed the vehicles to Oxford without cost – a share requirement built into some Federal Transit Administration programs.
Once Oxford accepts transfer, OUT could have the buses within two weeks, said system manager Ron Biggs. The expansion timeline is tentatively scheduled for September or October, depending on how soon stops, schedules and other details can be nailed down.
Aldermen also are expected tonight to authorize application for a state grant to use as a match for a federal 80-20 grant already allocated to fund a bus shop and business office for the Oxford-University system.
“This will come from the Multi-Modal Fund, which is set up by the state of Mississippi to support different kinds of transportation other than streets,” Akers said.
Biggs said that even with a population reduced by the summer break at the University of Mississippi, ridership on the Monday-Saturday service has remained above projections at 400-600 per day.
One stop, North Mississippi Regional Center, is being eliminated because of safety concerns that passengers going to the Highway Patrol office or the county health department were putting themselves at risk by crossing Highway 7 between NMRC and those offices.
After Aug. 3 the nearest stop will be the Mississippi State Veterans Home.
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.

Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal