Groups across the Mid-South stress the need for safe, accessible public transportation

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Many of us take for granted how easy it is to drive around town, but if you rely on public transportation, you know just how difficult it can be to get around and do the things you need to do.

That's why agencies across the country highlight the need to make public transit safe and more accessible for riders.

FOX13 explains what this means for public transportation across the Mid-South.

Tuesday is National Transit Equity Day and in Memphis, thousands of people rely on MATA public transportation.

Tuesday they will honor Rosa Parks, where played a major role in making public transportation more equitable.

For many people across the Mid-South, a bus is their only form of transportation, which is something Alexander Gray doesn’t take for granted.

“It keeps me from walking,” Gray said. “I have to walk a long way, walk miles and stuff, so that’s all I got right now.”

Environmental, social justice and labor organizations across the country have big plans to highlight the importance of public transit.

Dennis Lynch with the Sierra Club Tennessee Chapter will organize one of the events in Memphis.

Groups will honor the 107 birthday of Rosa Parks who Fought for transit equity.

“Transit is an important part of that whole system to get individuals where they need to go,” Lynch said. “Not everybody can afford a car, but the city is there. they’re in the city, and we need to provide a transit system that enables people to get to where they need to go.”

Lynch said it costs anywhere from $8,000 to $9,000 a year to operate a car, if you include insurance, the cost of gasoline and repairs.

For some bus riders, that’s how much money they make a year.

Gray said some of the injustices Parks fought against are still prevalent today, particularly in African American communities.

“They don’t give a damn,” Gray said. “They really don’t. It’s pitiful. Here comes the bus now. It’s late. It’s late.”

Tuesday’s event is at 9:30 a.m. at 160 N. Main St.

They encourage support and increased funding for transit transportation in Shelby County.