By Errol Castens/Daily Journal Oxford Bureau
OXFORD – Night class students at the University of Mississippi will be able to commute by bus later this month. Currently, Oxford-University Transit (OUT) service ends at 6:30 p.m., meaning that students and faculty with later classes often drive their cars onto campus, sometimes before restrictive daytime parking rules end.
For students without cars, primarily internationals, the issue is not merely convenience, but also safety.
“We’ve got foreign students who live out on Old Taylor Road,” said Ole Miss Parking and Transportation Director Isaac Astill.
“A lot of them take night classes, and there’s just no way for them to get across the Highway 6 bridge safely in the dark,” he said.
OUT Commission members on Wednesday approved extending service to 9:15 p.m. on two lines that almost exclusively serve university riders. The Green Line serves UM’s South Lot near Highway 6 and student communities on Old Taylor Road. The Brown Line serves the commuter parking lot at Ole Miss’ Jackson Avenue Center (formerly part of Oxford Mall).
Transit Commission members had earlier voted to extend hours on all routes beginning in August, but Ole Miss Parking and Transportation Director Isaac Astill told other commission members that several university department heads had asked if it could be started earlier. They agreed, he said, to pay the costs from their budgets until fall.
OUT Manager Ron Biggs said the service extension will be a welcome addition for riders.
“Even last year I said there’s always been the need for it,” he said.
Biggs said late service will begin as soon as it can be implemented.
“I have to hire somebody and train them,” he said. “I’m looking at probably the 25th.”