MATA hopes to bring Bus Rapid Transit to Memphis

The Memphis Area Transit Authority believes it is on the verge of bringing a bus rapid transit system to Memphis, announcing at a press conference Monday morning that it has received a favorable rating on its application for federal grant of $46 million.

“We are now actively working with our partners on the final funding needed to complete this $73 million project that will improve safety and environmental sustainability along an eight-mile corridor connecting downtown Memphis, the Medical District and the University of Memphis using a rapid Transit System,” said Gary Rosenfeld, CEO of MATA.

Continued: Light rail in Memphis? MATA is exploring an option to transport workers to the Ford plant

Bus Rapid Transit systems combine the best qualities of a subway system and a bus system. US cities with some form of bus rapid transit systems include Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Eugene, Oregon, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas.

According to the Institute for Transportation and Development (ITDP), these systems are defined by the following characteristics: Dedicated bus lanes; a dedicated bus lane designed to direct buses away from the sidewalk; payment of the fare at a station rather than inside the bus; banning traffic from crossing lanes reserved for buses; and platform-level boarding.

“Some people can’t even get to employers who are five or three miles from their homes,” said Beverly Robertson, president and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber.

There is a push in Memphis to expand MATAs and public transportation to attract future businesses to the area and help transport Memphis workers to jobs outside of the city limits, such as l Motor’s $5.6 billion electric truck and battery plant in Haywood. County.

“We just had the best year in our history for economic development,” Robertson said. “These investments will definitely help us build on the momentum we have already built in the region…we are making sure that we also focus on the region. If you know where [Ford] megasite is located, it is approximately 12 miles from the county line, 40 miles from downtown Memphis. We need great transportation options that will allow us to get people to those jobs. »

Also on Monday, MATA announced an expansion of on-demand ride options in Whitehaven, Cordova and the Northaven/Frayser area as well as the introduction of real-time bus tracking.

More vehicles will be added to Ready! by the MATA program, which serves these areas. Ready! by MATA is a program similar to Groove On-Demand, which serves downtown Memphis. Both programs started as pilot programs and funding has been secured to continue the programs for at least another year.

“We are now adding more Ready! by MATA vehicles to these areas, which will reduce some of those wait times to meet the growing demand,” said Bacarra Mauldin, Chief of Staff at MATA.

The real-time bus tracking system can be accessed through the Go901 Transit app or website. Riders can access the system through the MATA Tracker tab on the website or app.

“You can hover over the bus and the bus will tell you if the bus is on time, late, and how many people are actually on the bus,” said John Lancaster, MATA’s director of planning and programming. “You can also click on a bus stop and it will tell you when the bus is expected to arrive, when it is scheduled and what time it will arrive.”

Gina Butkovich covers DeSoto County, storytelling and general news. She can be reached at 901-232-6714 or on Twitter @gigibutko.

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