• 64°

Oxford University Transit to offer free fares this summer

In a continued effort to boost ridership in the Oxford community, the Oxford University Transit system will offer rides at no cost to citizens during the summer. The OUT buses will be ‘Free to Ride’ in June and July. 

The initiative was approved by the Oxford University Transit Commissioners on May 15 when OUT general manager Donna Zampella proposed offering free rides for a period of the summer. The ‘Free to Ride’ period will begin on June 1 and run through July 31.  

“I was trying to get maybe school-aged kids to ride for free, but they agreed to (allow) everyone (to ride) for free,” Zampella said. 

The normal rates for Oxford residents to ride the buses range from $1 for adults and .50 for seniors 65 and up to .75 for students in grades K to 12th grade with proper identification. Ole Miss staff and faculty ride for free and students have it included in their tuition costs. Disabled residents ride for .50 without identification needed. 

Earlier this month, Zampella announced the OUT buses would have extended summer hours on the Red, Blue and the newly returned Gray lines with hopes to keep those hours into the fall when school resumes. The Orange line normally does not run in the summer, but an increase of callers from the route made Zampella decide to keep it active. 

“The Grey line started (on May 13) and it’s been a little slow going, but I think once kids get out for school it will pick up,” Zampella said. “Especially since it’s free. I really think kids will use it more. People are excited that we extended (the hours) and makes it a little more useful. We stopped (the Orange line) on Monday we had a ton of calls saying ‘we don’t have anyway to get to work.’ A lot of them work at the university so we had to implement the Orange line back in for the summer.” 

On June 20, a ‘Dump the Pump’ day will take place across the county in which people are encouraged to leave their cars at home and take public transportation to work. More than 100 public transit systems are planning to participate for National Dump the Pump Day. 

Locally, OUT is partnering with the Oxford Community Market on June 18 for a pre-celebration from 3 to 6:30 p.m. at the Old Armory Pavilion. There will be activities for kids, including free lemonade and popcorn. 

For more information about the OUT system or about next month’s event call 662-234-3540 or email Zampella at dzampella@oxfordms.net.