USM considers transit system for student use

Despite various complaints about parking on campus, most students at The University of Southern Mississippi may not know how to take advantage of public transportation to get around the Hub City.

However, Hattiesburg is not without public transit. Hub City Transit buses routinely travel up and down Hardy Street and other main roads. Students may be unaware of the existence of the transportation system or may simply choose not to use it.

Southern Miss’ Office of Sustainability is invested in increasing easy access to public transportation.

On Nov. 17, the Office of Sustainability posted a survey to their Facebook page, looking for responses from students and faculty concerning the use of Hub City Transit. The questionnaire “will be used to help develop a transit program that is viable and convenient for the university population.”

Hub City Transit buses run on four different routes: Hardy Street, Dabbs and Cloverleaf, Mobile and Broadway and Palmers Crossing. Each stop on the route is visited once an hour by a bus running that route. The Hardy Street route, for example, begins at the Train Depot at 6 a.m., with the bus returning at 7 a.m., 8 a.m., and so on until 6:30 p.m. Along the way, the bus hits major stops such as USM, Westover, Turtle Creek Mall and the Highway 98 Walmart.

According to the service’s website, a trip on the bus costs 50 cents for adults, and 25 cents for children, members of the military and senior citizens. Yet despite its cost effectiveness, relative ease of use, and accessibility, most students prefer the use of private vehicles.

Gabby Chamoun, a sophomore therapeutic recreation major, is one of the students who has taken
the survey.

“The  survey was short and easy,” she said. “I was not aware prior to taking the survey that there was a bus system in Hattiesburg, but I would definitely use it if it was easy (to use).”

Chamoun, a student from Maryland, does not have a car on campus, and her ability to travel off campus is limited to rides from friends.

“Not having a car is a struggle,” she said. “In Maryland, everyone recycles, everyone carpools, but when I came here, no one
did those things.”

Working with Southern Miss would be an easy way to improve the functionality of the bus service, Chamoun pointed out.

“One thing the buses could do is let students show their Student ID when they get on the bus instead of getting a ticket somewhere else,” Chamoun said. “And I live in Hillcrest, so the current stops aren’t easy to get to.”

With the plans in motion to allow greater accessibility to public transportation moving forward, Southern Miss students and the rest of the Hattiesburg community will have to remain tuned in to see what Office of Sustainability and the City of Hattiesburg have planned next.