The Miami University Metro will be making some scheduled detours outside its normal routes this semester. According to the Office of International Education, a new bus stop to Wal-Mart has been made available on occasion for a $5 ticket fee.
Although all students are able to take the bus, it will be specifically targeted for international students.
“Since I’ve been here in July, I’ve heard lack of transportation in the town of Oxford is a problem for international students,” said Frank Merendino, international student adviser. “For domestic students, they either have a car or know someone who has a car.”
The Office of International Education responded to this issue with the new metro stop by October, according to Merendino.
“We needed to find some broader way for international students to get some necessities that unfortunately cannot be located in a smaller town, within walking distance,” Merendino said.
Currently, Wal-Mart is the only stop being addressed by the office, but Merendino said there are other hard-to-access spots that prove problematic for international students.
“It’s often difficult to get to Hamilton to go the Social Security Office,” Merendino said.
Dee Fisher, assistant supervisor of the Shriver Box Office, said after a short trip to the box office and a small fee, students could gain accessibility to one important area outside of campus.
Fisher said the buses would depart every half-hour starting at noon Oct. 31, Nov. 14 and Dec. 15.
“It’s a $5 ticket and it takes them round trip to Wal-Mart from Shriver and cycles approximately every half-hour,” Fisher said.
The program is targeted towards international students, but Merendino said all Miami students may purchase a pass.
According to Fisher and Merendino, the one-time ticket can be redeemed for all four visits.
The first trip was on Oct. 10.
“The first week we sold 20 tickets, but I don’t know how many specific students rode the bus,” Merendino said.
Merendino said there is no way to keep track of who purchased the ticket and subsequently who used it.
Along with the monthly frequent to Wal-Mart, Merendino said he hopes to see convenient visits to the superstore increase.
“In the future we would prefer that there was an expanded route on the Metro to Wal-Mart,” Merendino said.
Merendino said this would ease the fiscal responsibility the Office of International Education has tackled with the new Wal-Mart stop.
“This isn’t something we are getting funds from the university,” Merendino said. “It would have to be based on the final numbers (of tickets purchased) to see if it’s economically feasible.”
Merendino said although students must pay $5 to secure a pass, the Office of International Education absorbs some of the costs for the Metro bus to run.
For now, students must wait to see if the budget will allow the program to continue into next semester.
“There’s no way to guarantee for sure,” Merendino said.