Memphis prepares for rapid transit bus system

Updated: Nov. 19, 2019 at 9:22 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -A major improvement to mass transit to Memphis is on its way.

That improvement will be called rapid transit. Under the new plan bus riders could get from DOWNTOWN Memphis to the University of Memphis in just 10 minutes.

In Cleveland, Ohio’s system, electric vehicles provide high frequent service every 10 minutes; and the same system is scheduled to come to Memphis.

The CEO of MATA, Gary Rosenfeld, says the $12,000,000 federal grant the agency received this month will go towards the $74,000,000 needed for the project and construction could begin in 2021.

“The other funding is a combination of local, state and federal funds from different programs,” said Rosenfeld.

The planned “M-Connect” route is an 8-mile stretch connecting Downtown Memphis to the medical district and the University of Memphis.

Those millions of dollars will go towards constructing 30 shelters along the route, creating dedicated bus lanes and new technology to keep buses running on the tight 10 minute interval schedule.

Sammie Hunter, co-chair of the Memphis Bus Riders Union says M-Connect leaves out bus riders in the outlying areas such as South and North Memphis.

“The idea is a good idea like I say, I have no problem with it,” said Hunter “but the problem that I have is people in these low-income areas that are scuffling everyday, they need this service badder than anyone.”

Rosenfeld says a “North-South” line could be considered in the future... but it’s not a priority.

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