Oxford-Hamilton bus route opens to public
Published: Thursday, August 23, 2012
Updated: Thursday, August 23, 2012 23:08
Miami University partnered with Butler County Regional Transit Authority (BCRTA) to open its regional route from the Oxford campus to the Hamilton campus to the general public for a $2 fare. The service remains free for students, faculty and staff, according to Claire Wagner, associate director of University Communications and Lt. Ben Spilman of Miami University Police Department (MUPD).
The change is an extension of Miami’s initiative to incorporate more environmentally-friendly practices around campus and in the community.
“Part of the university’s sustainability commitments include creating a sustainable transportation network that’s open to the public,” Spilman said.
Senior Peter Rampa, who commutes between the Hamilton campus to the Oxford campus, said as long as students are still able to ride the bus he does not mind that it is open to the public.
“I don’t see it as too detrimental because the option for students to ride it is still there,” Rampa said. “I think that any way they can help to get students to and from different campuses is always a good thing.”
Miami’s partnership with the BCRTA allows students, faculty and staff to ride the bus between Oxford and Middletown for no cost, as opposed to the previous $2 fee.
Miami had previously provided a bus service between Oxford and Hamilton on its own for $114,580 the new partnership with the BCRTA, Miami will pay $115,000 to operate the buses, according to Wagner and Spilman.
Spilman said while the university is neither saving nor losing money by partnering with the BCRTA, they are receiving more services for their payment.
The Oxford-Hamilton bus will make new stops at places such as Fairfield Crossings, where there is a connection to the Cincinnati Metro, according to Spilman, in addition to extending its hours. Where the bus previously ran 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., it will now run until midnight. The Oxford-Middletown route will run 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Rampa said these extended hours and more destinations will better help students to commute.
“As someone who hasn’t ridden the bus much before it’s good to know that the flexibility and schedule are something that will help me plan commutes in the future,” Rampa said.
Miami began discussions with the BCRTA Spring 2012, though most progress was made this summer, according to Matt Dutkevicz, assistant general manager of the BCRTA.
The BCRTA does not receive any funding from local taxes unlike most transit agencies, according to Dutkevicz. Local money is typically used to help fund the operation of transit agency buses. As a result BCRTA seeks out local partnerships.
“We are always looking for opportunities for folks to contribute to transit, so we can draw out federal grant money and provide services throughout the county,” Dutkevicz said.
The $2 fare is collected by the BCRTA, but they do not intend to make a profit, according to Dutkevicz.
“The RTA is a political subdivision of the state,” Dutkevicz said. “We’re not in this to make money. We want to provide good service to the Miami community and the Butler County community, and we think this is a good partnership.”
BCRTA is planning additional improvements to the bus service such as placing GPS systems on the buses so that riders can look up the position of the bus on their smart phones, according to Dutkevicz. Miami and BCRTA also plan on partnering on a route between the Middletown and Hamilton campuses. The BCRTA already provides a route between Middletown and Hamilton but it does not stop at either of the regional campuses.
According to Wagner, the BCRTA buses are also accessible to people in wheelchairs.
Wagner is enthusiastic about the partnership and thinks it will be beneficial to Miamians.
“I hope people take advantage of it,” Wagner said.