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UM to expand Safe Ride

Oxford-University Transit will be expanding its Safe Ride route that offers students a safe way to get back to their dorms on campus after spending the night on the Square.

The late-night bus service started in 2016 and runs from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday and Friday and 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday.

Currently, the bus picks up University of Mississippi students from the Square and drops them off at one of four stops that are mostly located along Rebel Drive or on the west side of campus.

Director of University Parking and Transportation Mike Harris told the OUT board of directors Wednesday the university would like to add five additional stops throughout the entire campus.

“We believe this would increase ridership and be safer for the students,” Harris said. “Right now, many get off the bus and have a good ways to walk to get to their residence halls.”

Now, two buses are used to shuttle the students back from the Square. With the addition of the five new stops, Harris said the university would pay for two additional buses to run during the fall semester – making it four buses on the route – and one additional bus during the spring semester for a total of three buses on the route.

The two buses currently running the route are paid for through a transportation grant from the Mississippi Department of Transportation. The additional buses would be paid for solely by the university, Harris said.

“The total cost for the additional buses will be $24,600 and the university has agreed to pay that,” he told the board.

Harris said an average of 5,000 students rides the Safe Ride route each month.

The new stops will be added on Oct. 12. The Safe Ride route doesn’t operate on Saturdays when there is a nighttime home football game.

The board unanimously approved the new buses and expanded route.