Intercity bus service possible, Oxford transit manager says

By Errol Castens/Daily Journal Oxford Bureau

OXFORD – The University of Mississippi’s director of parking and transportation said daily express bus service from Oxford to Memphis, Jackson and New Orleans is a possibility.
Isaac Astill said Wednesday that he is in preliminary negotiations with two companies that could offer trips from a yet-to-be-determined location on the Ole Miss campus to Memphis, Jackson and New Orleans for one-way fares in the $15 to $45 range.
“There would be no cost to the city or the university,” Astill said, noting one company, Megabus, has said it would only require a passenger loading site with parking near Highway 6.
As proposed, there would be three northbound and three southbound buses each day, he said.
While Oxford-University Transit’s buses are transporting nearly 100,000 riders a month, mostly to and from Ole Miss, lack of intercity transit compels most students to drive to Oxford in a private vehicle, making it all too tempting for many to drive onto campus as well.
“We’re not proposing that we’re going to eliminate parking for underclassmen, but this is a step toward changing people’s habits of driving,” he said.
The proposed intercity transit service would also connect Oxford air passengers by Memphis Area Transit Authority to Memphis International Airport.
Oxford-University Transit Manager Ron Biggs said Megabus or another intercity service could complement the service OUT offers.
“I’m familiar with Megabus, and they generally stop in the major cities,” he said.
Megabus serves scores of other cities and college towns in more than 30 states.
Astill did not name the second intercity bus company with which he has had contact but said it is not Greyhound. He cautioned against counting intercity bus connections as a done deal.
“We’re still in the initial talking stage,” he said.
errol.castens@journalinc.com