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OUT approves McDonald for another year

The Oxford University Transit Commission approved McDonald Transit Inc. to run the city’s popular and constantly growing public bus system for at least another year during their meeting Wednesday.

The city of Oxford and the University of Mississippi own OUT, however, they contracted with McDonald Transit to manage the system in 2012. They were contracted for three years with two, one-year options to renew. OUT granted the first one-year renewal in 2015 and unanimously voted to continue the relationship for another year.

Tim Akers, with McDonald Transit and former city planner for Oxford, said the commission will soon have to send out Requests for Proposals and reconsider the management of the transit system. McDonald Transit could apply again at that time.

“This commission will evaluate those proposals and make a recommendation to the Board of Aldermen on which to approve,” Akers said. “We will most likely start that process sometime around the fall of this year.”

The terms of the one-year extension remain the same as in the original contract, Akers said, other than a small $200 a month increase in operational costs.

Commission members and representatives from McDonald said they have been very satisfied with the relationship between the two entities for the last four years.

“I don’t think anyone dreamed (OUT) would have grown in the manner it has,” said Commissioner Carole Haney.

Scott Neeley with McDonald Transit called the OUT system “strong.”

“I’m proud of the fact that while OUT has only been running a relatively short time, it has grown exponentially,” he said. “There’s always growing pains with growth like that but OUT has managed to keep up with the growth. We’re really proud to work with OUT and hope to continue that relationship for a long time.”

Ridership for May was 65,688, up from May 2015 that saw 40,523 riders.