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OUT services expand acccomodations

File

The Oxford Board of Aldermen and the University of Mississippi have initiated updates to the Oxford-University Transit system in the past few weeks. Along with blue, red, yellow and green lines, a purple line will be added to the mix, creating a Saturday route.  
This new purple line will accommodate a very specific, growing issue that has been voiced and observed within Oxford: some transit-dependent people have trouble traveling around Oxford on the weekend when the green and yellow lines do not run.
The line will travel primarily to larger locations, including Campus Creek, University Trails, down West Jackson Avenue and Walmart.
“The purple line was created in response to people on the green and yellow lines who were having trouble with transportation,” Oxford city planner Tim Akers said.
Sophomore Tyler Ferrell is somewhat skeptical of the update, but all in all, he said he feels confident in the new purple line.
“It’s definitely going to help me out a lot with living in University Trails,” Ferrell said. “So I feel like it’s a smart idea and that it will definitely serve its purpose.”
Not only will the purple line be a new service, but beginning in the fall, there will also be a lunch shuttle that will run every 10 minutes between the campus and the Square.   
The shuttle is intended to further increase availability to Oxford, and it also gives transit-dependent students another outlet for lunch. The new shuttle services may benefit the city of Oxford as well by enabling the university population to stimulate business outside campus borders.   
Another addition to OUT services will be the new bus depot, which is being built near the animal shelter. The bus depot will further satisfy the expansion of the transit service, and the new facility will be in full use midway through this year, Akers told the Associated Press.
Good or bad, all these changes did not come free.
The board of aldermen increased the city’s contribution to the OUT system by $40,000, and the university also raised its contribution by $40,000. This $80,000 budget increase puts the budget for OUT at $1.4 million. The Mississippi Department of Transportation covers 80 percent of that budget, but the university and city are required to cover the other 20 percent, leaving each to pay about $292,000.