• MATA CEO comments on Shelby County mayor's plan on car taxes for funding

    By: Kody Leibowitz

    Updated:

    SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. - If you missed the bus in Memphis, it could take 30 minutes, sometimes an hour, before you see another bus at that stop. 

    Memphis Area Transportation Authority, better known as MATA, faces a frequency of services problem, an issue the public transit authority is fully aware of.

    Bus stop waits can be lengthy. Sometimes those waits are more than an hour long.

    “In the Transit Vision Study Plan, a vast majority of people said they would pay more money for good public transportation,” said Gary Rosenfeld, MATA CEO. 

    Rosenfeld made those comments to FOX13 after Shelby County mayor Lee Harris unveiled his plan on Wednesday to fund MATA through increase car registration fees for some families. 

    The Transit Vision plan mentioned by Rosenfeld is part of Memphis 3.0’s overall plan. 


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    That study shows what MATA’s system currently looks like and what it could be in the future. 

    A map in the study shows the frequency between buses at stops midday, Monday to Friday in Memphis.

    The most frequent stops take up to an hour, shown in green. 

    The next most frequent rate is more than an hour between buses, which is the yellow line. 

    The study found few MATA routes offering 30-minutes between buses and only one coming every 20 minutes. That route runs through Poplar. 

    The short term fix? The study recommends an additional $30 million per year. The study paints a picture of more 15 minute and 30-minute wait times, moving most of the additional dollars to buses with more riders. 

    How far away is MATA from getting that additional money? Pretty far away. 

    Harris anticipates the fee will generate around $9 million to go towards transportation funding. The plan also calls for the county to dedicate 1.5%, or $1 million, to transit funding to bring the total to $10 million.

    As for the City of Memphis, since Mayor Jim Strickland has taken office, MATA funding has increased by $6 million a year, according to his staff. 

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