MATA announces end of free fares, service changes effective June 21

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Area Transit Authority today announced a series of changes to current operations effective Sunday, June 21 until further notice.

The changes relate to fix-route service, new temporary fares and the reopening of MATA’s three Transit Centers with strict social distancing guidelines enforced, according to a press release.

For specific times, maps and timepoints (the stop that the bus will try to reach at a scheduled time), please visit matatransit.com and click on the specific route that is listed on the Maps and Schedules tab or call the MATA Call Center at 901.274.MATA (6282).

You can view the list of routes here.

From the press release:

MATA will restore the majority of service to most routes providing connections to essential services as a result of the recent Memphis and Shelby County reopening plan related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

MATA will continue to monitor ridership and follow the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the City of Memphis, the Shelby County Health Department and the State of Tennessee to make additional decisions regarding increasing service.

For additional information, please contact the Call Center Monday – Friday 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at 901-274-MATA (6282) or email ridersfirst@matatransit.com or follow RideMATA on Facebook and Twitter.

Some riders told FOX13 they’re excited at the possibility of things going to back to a more normal flow.

“I’ve seen 10 people at a time. If there’s already two people on there, then only eight people can get on there," said MATA rider Crystal Matthews.

Matthews said she’s been riding MATA throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to get to work.

“I’ve been passed up a couple of times on several occasions, and it’s pretty much a 30-minute wait, and at some points it’s an hour wait,” she said.

That’s because there is currently a 10-rider limit on buses and changes were made to routes and schedules. But MATA says starting June 21 they’re restoring the majority of service to most routes and providing connection to essential services. MATA is also working to re-open the transit centers with strict social distancing enforcement and sanitation measures in place.

“It helps in a way, but it really doesn’t, 'cause the virus creates where there’s a minimum on the bus and you have to do social distancing,” MATA rider Cedric Kearney told FOX13.

“See I get bus cards, but I just can’t use them now cause of coronavirus,” said Kenneth Jacobs

MATA is also getting $35 million from the CARES Act. It will help with reduced service and help balance the loss of ridership, officials said. The money will also go toward PPE, cleaning and help with lost sales tax revenues.