Updates Coming to OUT Buses, Routes

Campus, community will see technology enhancements and route changes

Riders who use Oxford-University Transit buses to navigate campus can expect to see upgrades and route changes this semester. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – Oxford-University Transit riders may experience some changes on the University of Mississippi campus this semester, including enhanced technology features and a consolidation of routes among some lines.

Riders on the Green Line and Old Taylor Road Express may already have noticed an improved riding experience aboard OUT’s new bus. Four additional new buses should be rolled out on routes that serve the campus during February, replacing older, less-reliable buses that were previously leased by OUT.

The low-floor, two-door buses will make boarding easier and faster. The buses being new also should significantly reduce unscheduled maintenance, said Donna Zampella, OUT general manager. 

Also beginning in February, riders will be able to use the public transit tab in Google Maps to navigate OUT routes.

“It will generate a public transit map for you, show route color, tell you where to transfer and even how many steps to take from one bus shelter to the next,” Zampella said.

This is the first in a number of technology upgrades the system is planning over the course of the spring semester. The ultimate goal is to replace the NextBus app with the real-time QRyde app before the fall semester begins.

Under the QRyde system, each bus will be equipped with a tablet to deliver real-time bus locations to waiting riders. The current system offers riders only estimated arrival times, which can vary from stop to stop based on traffic, weather and number of riders.

Additionally, the new system offers a suite of usability features, including arrival alerts for riders who don’t want to spend more time than necessary at a bus shelter.

Route Consolidations 

The Rebel Red and Rebel Blue, the campus circulator shuttles, have been reduced from two buses each in each direction – clockwise/counterclockwise – to one bus in each direction. These routes were reduced because of an overall need for more buses within the OUT system as well as low ridership.

Hal Robinson, manager of transportation in the UM Department of Parking and Transportation, said the Rebel Red and Rebel Blue campus circulators remain essential to the university’s plans for campus accessibility, and that he hopes to see additional buses placed on the route as soon as they’re available.

The Silver Line, which connected the Park-N-Ride areas at the South Campus Recreation Center to the Kennon Observatory Transportation Hub, will be incorporated into the Green Line and the OTR Line. Silver Line riders may notice a difference in wait times compared with last semester, but the bus timing should be comparable to the other Park-N-Ride lots at the Jackson Avenue Center and the South Lot.