The University of Southern Mississippi and the city of Hattiesburg have announced the creation of a new free bus route that will be available to students, staff and faculty on the Hattiesburg campus. The route, called the “Gold route” is in partnership with Hub City Transit and will allow students to ride for free with student identification.
“Parking and wayfinding is a topic of conversation on almost every college and university campus across the country,” Allyson Easterwood, interim vice president for finance and administration at Southern Miss said. “Hub City Transit’s Gold route will connect the University of Southern Mississippi to the city of Hattiesburg.”
Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker said the university route will follow the perimeter of the campus, allowing students to go to and from surrounding apartment complexes, as well as nearby parking lots. The route will include 14 stops and two transfer stops to connect to other routes within the city.
“The University of Southern Mississippi is one of the key economic and cultural assets in the city of Hattiesburg,” Barker said. “When we consider that thousands of students arrive in Hattiesburg to attend Southern Miss, establishing and strengthening the bond between students and our community is an opportunity and must be a priority.”
In addition to the Gold route, students, faculty and staff will now be able to ride any other route Hub City Transit offers for free. Easterwood said the free transit rides will be covered by existing revenue strings, which will not increase student fees.
The new route is part of a larger reorganization of the Hattiesburg transit system. Barker said that along with the Gold route, there will be a rebranding of the transit system as a whole, complete with a new color-coded route system, bus wrappings and at least one more route named the Green route.
“The Hub City Transit system will make students’ lives easier,” SGA President McKenna Stone said. “Whether you need to get to your residence hall, to the union, to an Eagle Dining facility, to a parking lot, or –most importantly— to classes, you will be able to catch a ride there on one of our new buses.”
The Gold route will officially open July 2 and operate Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. afterward.