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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

MATA offering refunds to some bus customers who bought 7 or 31-day passes before temporary free fares began

To keep to social distancing guidelines, fewer people will be allowed on each bus.
Credit: MATA

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — UPDATE 4/1/2020 - (MATA NEWS RELEASE) - The Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) today announced that it is offering prorated refunds to fixed route bus customers who purchased 7-or 31-day passes prior to the start of temporary free fares which began on Wednesday, March 25. 

Customers who are eligible to receive a prorated refund must show either the pass or receipt that was purchased from March 17 through March 24, 2020 and visit the William Hudson Transit Center (located at 444 North Main) from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. on Thursday, April 2,  Friday, April 3, and Saturday, April 4 to receive their refund. 

As a reminder, fare is free on all MATA service vehicles until Thursday, April 30. The temporary free fares are part of an overall strategy to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

Note: MATAplus passes do not qualify for refunds since those passes are based on the number of rides and not the number of days.  

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3/31/2020 - (MATA NEWS RELEASE) - Since the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) began operating reduced levels of service on Monday, March 30, extra buses have been added on key routes to address the issue of frequency and to serve customers who may have to wait longer at bus stops and bus shelters due to the 10-person limit that was instituted to comply with local Executive Orders and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Effective immediately, MATA will begin posting new schedules on matatransit.com that reflects additional buses operating between scheduled trips.

In addition, beginning on Wednesday, April 1, MATA will begin staging buses at the William Hudson, Airways, and American Transit Centers in order to be able to respond quickly that additional buses are needed to serve more customers who may be left waiting due to the 10-person limit. 

By using this process, wait times should lessen greatly and MATA operators should be able to respond faster.  

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, more adjustments of service may occur. During this time, MATA also requests that employers be as flexible as possible.

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3/27/2020 - (MATA NEWS RELEASE) - In response to customers who have indicated they will have difficulty reaching certain employers who may provide essential service in Memphis and Shelby County, the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) today announced three additional routes that will also run on Monday, March 30 until further notice: Routes 7 Air Park, 32 East Parkway, and 69 Winchester. Note: The actual times that these routes will run has not been finalized yet and will be posted on matatransit.com on the Maps and Schedules page no later than Saturday at 5 p.m. 

“When we first announced reduced levels of service, we were focusing on routes that were considered essential,” said MATA Chief Executive Officer Gary Rosenfeld. “But we heard from some customers today and decided that we needed to add three more routes to try to be as responsive to their needs as possible. However, we want everyone to understand that we’re responding to the reality of our resources. With ridership dropping and knowing that several businesses are not operating at this time per current Executive Orders, we are making decisions with the information that we have at the time. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, we will likely make more adjustments of service and we are requesting that employers be as flexible as possible as well.”  

The following are the routes that will operate from Monday, March 30 until further notice: 

BUS SCHEDULE ROUTES THAT WILL BE IN SERVICE OPERATING ON A SUNDAY SCHEDULE  

  • 2 Madison
  • 4 Walker  
  • 8 Chelsea   
  • 11 Frayser Raleigh 
  • 26 Hickory Hill  
  • 36 Hacks Cross  
  • 39 S Third  
  • 40 Wolfchase  
  • 42 Crosstown   
  • 50 Poplar  
  • 52 Jackson  
  • 53 Summer  
  • 56 Lamar  
  • 57 Park   
  • 64 Airport Shuttle 

BUS ROUTES IN SERVICE TO PROVIDE CONNECTIONS TO ESSENTIAL SERVICES 

  • Route 34 Walnut Grove will operate seven days per week as it normally operates Monday-Friday. 
  • Route 500 The Groove Shuttle will operate Monday-Friday as normally scheduled to serve the Memphis Medical District area.  
  • NEWLY ADDED: Route 7 Air Park will operate six days a week from Monday-Saturday on a modified schedule.  
  • NEWLY ADDED: Route 32 East Parkway will operate six days a week from Monday-Saturday on a modified schedule. 
  • NEWLY ADDED: Route 69 Winchester will operate six days a week from Monday-Saturday on a modified schedule.  

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3/26/2020 - It’s big, bright, a hybrid, and it holds 10 people.

It could hold 30 more, but social distancing means MATA keeps the passengers lean on buses.

“We have taken some extraordinary measures to ensure the safety of our bus operators and the public, says MATA’s Chief Executive Officer GARY Rosenfeld.

In less than five days, they have limited seating, they no longer charge fares, and passengers board from the back of the bus. There are some in Memphis who don’t like any mention of the term “back of the bus.”

Rosenfeld knows it.

“We have to balance safety with convenience,” he says.

Keeping bus drivers and mechanics Coronavirus free keeps the system running, Rosenfeld says.

“If we don’t have bus drivers and mechanics, we can’t operate buses. It’s important we take steps at the appropriate time to make changes to protect the key individuals that are crucial to us being able to operate at all.”

(MATA NEWS RELEASE) - The Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) today announced that effective Monday, March 30 until further notice, MATA will only operate service on a Sunday schedule DAILY along with some additional service for providing connections to essential services. This reduced service is in response to the number of businesses that can currently operate per Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris, and the Shelby County Health Department Civil Emergency Proclamations and Executive Orders. As a reminder, fare is free on all MATA service vehicles until Thursday, April 30.   

BUS SCHEDULE ROUTES THAT WILL BE IN SERVICE 

  • 2 Madison           
  • 4 Walker  
  • 8 Chelsea    
  • 11 Frayser Raleigh 
  • 26 Hickory Hill  
  • 36 Hacks Cross  
  • 39 S Third  
  • 40 Wolfchase 
  • 42 Crosstown   
  • 50 Poplar  
  • 52 Jackson  
  • 53 Summer  
  • 56 Lamar  
  • 57 Park   
  • 64 Airport Shuttle 

BUS ROUTES IN SERVICE TO PROVIDE CONNECTIONS TO ESSENTIAL SERVICES 

  • Route 34 Walnut Grove will operate seven days per week as it normally operates Monday-Friday. 
  • Route 500 The Groove Shuttle will operate Monday-Friday as normally scheduled to serve the Memphis Medical District area.  

TROLLEY SERVICE 

  • The Main Street Rail Line will operate from 6:45 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and from 10 a.m.-6:10 p.m. on Sunday (operating every 20 minutes). The Riverfront Line will operate from 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Sunday (operating every 40 minutes). The Madison Line will operate 6:45 a.m.-6 p.m. from Monday-Saturday (operating every 30 minutes). 

 MATAPLUS SERVICE 

  • The MATAplus paratransit service will be available from 4:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. seven days a week. Until further notice, MATAplus will only transport paratransit customers to work, medical-related destinations (including hospitals, dialysis, doctor appointments, and pharmacies), and to purchase/collect food from grocery stores, restaurants, or food distribution centers at non-profit organizations.

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RELATED: Mid-South coronavirus updates: TN has nearly 1,000 COVID-19 cases, 198 in Shelby County

RELATED: REAL ID deadline pushed back a year due to COVID-19

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Coronavirus in Context: 

The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80-percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.