New buses aim to make OUT system more efficient

Posted on Aug 22 2017 - 8:01am by Maddie McGee

As the OUT Bus system continues to see an increase in ridership, organizers have crafted a handful of updates to ease traffic congestion in a more efficient system.

One of more dramatic changes is the addition of new Rebel Red and Rebel Blue bus lines that will serve as on-campus shuttles.

Rebel Red will loop around campus in a counter-clockwise direction, while Rebel Blue will run clockwise around campus. These routes will eliminate the need for city buses to make several stops on campus and will instead drop students off at the two transit hubs located at Kennon Observatory and the Student Union. City buses will now only pick up from these two hubs.

Students get on the O.U.T bus outside Kennon Observatory on Monday. Photo by Marlee Crawford

Mike Harris, director of parking and transportation, said the new buses will make for a smoother system.

“They will streamline the operation, eliminating the need for buses to go through campus and make stops,” Harris said.

One of the new system’s goals is to prevent on-campus delays.

“Buses often would get stuck in vehicle and pedestrian traffic on campus,” OUT Bus supervisor Ron Biggs said.

In addition to route changes, the bus exteriors’ also got a summer makeover to a more uniform look.

“We wrapped 13 buses in an attractive blue color with the city’s logo and the Lyceum logo,” Biggs said.

Changes began taking place last school year, with the addition of several new buses and technology to aid visually or hearing-impaired students. Buses were outfitted with new audio systems to announce the stops, as well as LED lights.

“Our goal was to get all our buses standardized with the same colors and technology to better brand the system,” Harris said.

Other long-term goals for the OUT Bus system include new bus shelters, more modernized buses and a new park-and-ride lot and route once the South Recreational Facility opens.

“We are working on adding Wi-Fi to all buses,” Harris said. “We hope to have this in place by next fall.”

The OUT Bus system has seen increases in ridership every year the system has been in operation, with a record high of 1.2 million riders last school year.

“As we continue to make upgrades, we hope it becomes more convenient to ride,” Harris said. “We want it to become your transportation option of choice.”