• 75°

Visit Oxford takes over double decker rentals; increases rates

Due to rising costs to maintain the city’s four double decker buses, Visit Oxford is making changes to its rental policy for the iconic buses.

Joe Scott, with Visit Oxford, said some of the changes include requiring people to rent the bus at least one week in advance and put down a nonrefundable deposit.

“We’ve had people reserve the buses and then cancel at the last minute,” he said Tuesday at the Oxford Board of Aldermen meeting.

Visit Oxford recently took over the management of the double decker rentals and historic tours.

The goal is to have the buses used more for tourism purposes than as a means of transportation where the buses are being driven back and forth to an event location for several hours at a time. The new policy will only allow the buses to be rented for three hours.

“The buses are old and getting worn down,” he said. “They aren’t really meant to be used as transportation. We want them used more for tours and promoting tourism.”

The two older buses are about 50 years old. They came to Oxford from England in the 1980s. In August 2016, the city became home to two newer buses. One of the buses was made in 1983 and the other in 1986. The city purchased them for about $25,000 each from Arizona.

To help with the increasing cost of maintaining and repairing the buses, the rental price will be raised from the current $160 for the first hour and $100 for each additional hour to a flat $200 an hour.

“The price hasn’t changed since 2008,” Scott said.

The buses will not be allowed to cross or be driven on local highways.

“We were using them for events at places where the buses would have to cross Highway 7, which was really against our policy, so we’ll be enforcing that more now,” Scott said.

If inclement weather becomes an issue, Visit Oxford will determine whether it’s safe to rent out the buses at least two hours prior to the rental time. Should the weather cause the buses to be parked, the renter will receive their deposit back.