A $12-million game changer for the Memphis Area Transit Authority

Local News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – $12-million bucks. That’s a lot of dough.

And for the Memphis Area Transit Authority, it will open up a lot of doors.

It is all about bus rapid transit – a new thing for this city.

Because if there is one thing widely known now, it is that the current bus system is anything but rapid.

MATA’S Chief Executive Officer Gary Rosenfeld says, “What bus rapid transit is, is high frequency, high capacity bus service that utilizes stations, rather than bus stops. So there will be 28 or 29 stations built along the route.”

Memphis had to compete with other cities to get this money. The Acting Administrator for the Department of Transportation in Washington says this is a big victory for the city.

K. Jane Williams says, “We have seen bus rapid transit work across the country. It’s also going to improve access and mobility to jobs, health care, of course education with the University of Memphis, as well as other vital services across the community. We really believe it’s going to be very successful.”

The grant doesn’t change all of the problems. Not even close.

But it does show a radical change.

“(Bus Rapid Transit) will have dedicated bus lanes on Second and Third Street, coming in and out of downtown,” says Rosenfeld, “… and then it will be in regular lanes on Union Avenue and when it blends into Poplar Avenue.”

The plan is to have buses running every ten minutes. A big difference from the current situation, where people routinely spend two hours and more on buses while trying to get around.

The buses will also be new.

Rosenfeld says, “We will be using new electric buses with, again, the most modern amenities on board. They’ll be wi-fi on board and charging ports for people’s gadgets and phones.”

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