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A CATCAB parked outside Baker Center. (FILE)

CATS Late Night service continues to provide students with transportation

Ohio University's Campus Area Late Night Transit service has seen an increase in riders.

The service provides an alternative way of transportation on and near campus late at night. The service had 8,024 rides during the 2015-16 academic year and 11,535 during the 2016-17 academic year, according to Tia Hysell, interim manager of Transportation Services. As of November, there have been 2,114 rides during the current academic year.

CATS Late Night service began in 2015 to ensure safe rides for faculty, staff, students and visitors, Hysell said. The program costs OU approximately $65,000 each year for two shuttles and one dispatcher.

“This increases as wages, maintenance costs and vehicle replacement costs increase,” Hysell said in an email. “This is a service that is subsidized as riders are not responsible for payment of the service.”

The university employs both full-time and student drivers to operate the vehicles, she said.

When using the service, riders must take into account how far their planned destination is. Hysell said the service operates a maximum of two miles from the center of campus.

Upon contacting the dispatcher, riders will be picked up at their current location as long as it meets the two-mile range from the center of campus, she said.

Students can call 740-593-4040 to get in touch with a dispatcher and set up a ride and pickup location. 

Depending on the current need for the service, pickup times can vary.

“Rides can be scheduled in advance,” she said in an email. “Drivers are not always able to respond to immediate calls for service; however, as they may already have other rides scheduled.”

These wait times can range from five minutes to hours, depending on the demand and load, Hysell said. There are a total of nine vehicles in the fleet, but the services operates one or two per evening.

Bailey Panzeca, a sophomore studying music production, said she has never used this service before, but thinks it is a good idea.

"It's not safe at night a lot of the time on campus," she said. "I would use the service if I had to."

Becca Seeds, a junior studying animation also likes the idea, but has not used it personally.

"It is important to have something like this on campus," she said.

The service runs Monday through Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Saturday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. It does not provide service on Sundays.


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