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Miles College, a historically Black college and university (HBCU) located in Fairfield, Alabama, is set to enhance transportation options for its students with the introduction of two transit buses donated by the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority’s (BJCTA’s) MAX Transit.

The donation, which marks the first time Miles College will have its own transit buses, aims to provide students with convenient transportation both on and off campus, as well as to various area destinations.

Charlotte Shaw, Executive Director and CEO of MAX Transit, expressed her enthusiasm for the collaboration, stating, “Our buses are good buses. I can’t keep them in useful life for a long time. [Because of federal regulations], I can do only 700,000 miles or 15 years, whichever comes first. And, of course, most of the time I meet my miles first. … I had two really good buses, and I wanted [Miles] to have them.”

Miles College President Bobbie Knight expressed gratitude for the donation, highlighting the significance of accessible transportation in Fairfield. “I am grateful to [BJCTA Executive Director Shaw] because bus service does not come into Fairfield,” said President Knight. “If you go to Miles College and don’t have a car you can’t get around.”

The partnership between Miles College and MAX Transit began after a conversation between Shaw and Knight during a dinner meeting following Shaw’s “State of the Transit” address in January. Knight expressed interest in acquiring buses for the college, prompting Shaw to offer the vehicles as an in-kind donation.

“She was true to her word,” said Knight. “[Shaw] brought all of her team with her. We don’t have any drivers, [but] she told us [the BJCTA’s] drivers do a lot of part-time driving, … and she would give us their information so we can contact them.”

The buses, now parked on the Miles campus, will soon be adorned with the college’s signature purple and gold colors. However, Knight noted that sponsorship is needed to cover the cost of wrapping the buses, estimated at $9,000 per bus.

The introduction of transit buses opens up various opportunities for Miles College students, including grocery shopping trips to alleviate the challenges of living in a food desert, as well as visits to cultural and recreational destinations in the Birmingham area.

The collaboration between Miles College and MAX Transit represents a significant step forward in enhancing accessibility and mobility for students, further enriching the college experience and strengthening community ties.