Stimulus money will upgrade MATA - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Stimulus money will upgrade MATA

By Lori Brown - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Some of the money designated for Tennessee by the $787 billion federal stimulus package will go to upgrades at the Memphis Area Transit Authority.
Leaders at MATA didn't want to miss the bus when it came to getting stimulus money, so they quickly put together a plan.

"Half of these dollars have to be programmed by September 1," said Alison Burton, Director of Marketing at MATA.  "So it's a fast moving project to program your stimulus money."

Without their fast acting plans, the money would have gone to another city, Burton added.

One project will get MATA buses into the technology age, where your PDA may be able to tell you where the MATA bus you're waiting on is.

"That's going to be able to give us real time information on where buses are located," Burton said.

It's part of the Automatic Vehicle Location System.

"Ultimately, I believe, it will give us wi-fi on board buses, on-board cameras to help with surveillance, and counting to keep up with ridership," Burton said.

Newer, cleaner buses are also on the way.

"When your vehicles become old, you're going to experience mechanical problems and delays," Burton said.

Under the plan, MATA will get 35 new buses.  Seven will be hybrid-electric, while 28 others will be clean diesel buses.

MATA says the bus locator system will help more than impatient riders - it will also help them determine exactly how long it takes a driver get from point A to point B, and if they need to change their system.

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