Middletown-Oxford shuttle begins next week

Federal dollars for new service to and from Middletown finally shake loose.

MIDDLETOWN — Federal funds are on the way for several new transportation programs in the city, including shuttle service to and from Oxford and after-hours service within Middletown.

City Council approved both routes last February, though they have been stuck in limbo until federal dollars were handed down to Middletown. The city is splitting the estimated $1.1 million cost for both programs with the Butler County Regional Transit Authority, with the BCRTA picking up $586,480 of the tab.

BCRTA Executive Director Carla Lakatos said the new transportation services will begin regular operations Monday, May 10.

The Oxford-Middletown shuttle will run four round trips daily, Monday through Friday — two in the morning, two in the afternoon. It will operate largely between Miami University Middletown and the Shriver Center in Oxford along Ohio 73, with stops along the way. The one-way cost: $2 per rider.

Lakatos said it would have been ideal to start the shuttle during the school year, though she hopes kicking things off in the summer will allow time to “get the bugs worked out.”

“Plus it takes a while to build a regular ridership,” Lakatos said. “People have to find out about it and begin to use it regularly. As word gets out that this service exists, I’m sure people will begin taking advantage of it.”

Evening door-to-door service will operate largely like a taxi, from 6 p.m. until midnight Monday through Friday. The evening service could grow beyond the city of Middletown if demand is strong, Lakatos said.

“It’s really meant to supplement the city’s current transit service for people who need a ride in the evening,” she said. “People will just need to call ahead and schedule their trip, as it’s going to be run on a first-come, first-served basis.”

Evening trip fares will start out at $5 each way.

Both services have been approved for one year, with an option to renew on an annual basis, Lakatos said.