Athens, Ohio Mayor Steve Patterson and Ohio University President Roderick McDavis together announced a pilot program that will enable the Ohio University ID to serve as a fare card for unlimited travel on the Athens Public Transit system.
Per a report from the Athens News, the new Bobcat Pass pilot is set to begin July 1 and is expected to significantly increase transit access to a large population in the Athens County area. The pilot phase will last one year and will be funded by Ohio University’s Transportation and Parking Department.
“This partnership will allow the city and university to share infrastructure and other costs while working to reduce traffic pressure and improve access to and from key areas of campus,” says Ohio University’s McDavis. “We will be able to streamline communication about service changes or outages which we have every reason to believe will lead to increased safety and commuter satisfaction.”
Athens Mayor, Steve Patterson also applauded the work done by respective staffs at the transit authority and the Ohio University Transportation and Parking for developing the details of the pilot program.
“This partnership may be the leverage that Athens Public Transportation and HAPCAP needs to become recognized as a Regional Transit Authority,” says Athens Mayor Steve Patterson. “It is encouraging to learn that we may see other possible growth as a result of this effort through additional bus stop locations, improved signage, and the addition of Park and Ride sites.”
The Bobcat Pass program will include data collection of commuter behaviors, which is expected to help the transit authority and HAPCAP — a community organization for Hocking, Athens and Perry, Ohio — to optimize routes going forward. Ohio University and Athens city leaders will evaluate the program’s efficacy in early spring 2017, but University and city officials anticipate that pilot phase assessments will yield sustainable results.
Ohio University has until June 15, 2017 to extend the program beyond the pilot phase. The maximum cost to the university for the one-year pilot is set at $80,000.