MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Public transportation is the only way some people get around Memphis. Reducing and cutting routes can hurt riders tremendously, but that’s exactly what MATA plans to do in a few weeks. Riders are speaking out to bring these changes to a screeching halt.
MATA plans to cut routes affecting people in several communities like Boxtown and Westwood. FOX13 spoke with riders who said their communities are already underserved, and they’re not letting this happen without a fight.
“They want to take bus routes out of my community, out of my neighborhood. Unacceptable,” said A.R.G Hardaway, Memphis.
Hardaway rides MATA to and from work daily. He’s done it for the last 12 years.
“It actually takes me, and I’m not exaggerating, three hours from Southwest Memphis to the University of Memphis area,” said Hardaway.
So when Hardaway learned MATA planned to cut routes affecting people in Boxtown, Northaven and Firestone, already underserved communities, he joined Johnnie Mosley with the Citizen for Better Service to save those routes.
“These cuts are having a negative effect on people who ride the bus and their families,” said Johnnie Mosley, Citizen for Better Service.
However, in a statement, a MATA spokesperson said their “modifications in the Boxtown and Westwood communities support shorter wait times and provide additional connections while continuing to provide fixed-route coverage with Route 69 and on-demand service through “Ready”.”
“Some of the excuses MATA is trying to give us are unacceptable,” said Hardaway.
“We don’t like that MATA keeps making excuses, but not accepting solutions,” said Mosley.
These changes are expected to go into effect on November 7th. Before that, Citizens for Better Service and the Boxtown Neighborhood Association will be at the next city council meeting calling on the council to step in.
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