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OUT bus drivers to get pay raise

Bus drivers with the Oxford-University Transit system received an early Christmas present this week when they found out they would all be getting raises.

New drivers will also start a higher rate starting in January.

The Oxford-University Transit Commission approved the pay raises on Friday at the request of OUT Manager Ron Biggs.

Currently, new drivers start at $10 an hour and go up to $11 after a 90-probation period. Drivers who have been with OUT since 2008 topped out at $13.01 an hour. After the new year, new drivers will start at $11.35 and be increased to $12 an hour after their probation period. All drivers will receive a raise of 65 cents an hour.

Current drivers will have their pay increased as well.

Drivers who started in 2008 will go from $13.01 to $17.20; in 2009-2011, from $13.40 to $16.55; in 2012, from $12.63 to $15.25; in 2013, from $13.60 to $14.60; in 2014, from $11.90 to $13.95; in 2015, from $11.75 to $13.30; in 2016, from $11.56 to $12.65 and in 2017, from $11 to $12.

There are currently 37 full-time bus drivers with five open positions.

The raises will increase OUT’s payroll budget by $143,046 – from $1,085,127 to $1,228,173; however, Biggs said the current OUT budget is sufficient to absorb the increase and no increase in the city or University of Mississippi’s local match will be required for this year’s budget.

“We feel that making these pay adjustments will help us get qualified drivers who will remain with us,” Biggs said Wednesday. “I’ll have some happy drivers.”

“Merry Christmas,” added OUT Commission member Carole Haney.