MATA plans new bus route to accommodate IKEA employees, customers

MATA plans new bus route to accommodate IKEA employees, customers
MATA is planning a route that will take employees and customers to IKEA's front door. (Source: WMC Action News 5)
MATA is planning a route that will take employees and customers to IKEA's front door. (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) plans to operate routes to the IKEA store that will eventually open in Memphis.

The store is planned to go up in the area behind Costco on Germantown Parkway in 2016. New bus stops should make it easy for employees to get to and from work at the store.

IKEA is considered a destination store. Now, MATA wants to pitch in to help you get there. In fact, the buses will drop customers and employees off at the front door.

"Everyone doesn't have a vehicle, so I think it would be worth it," said shopper Pamela Meel.

"I think it should work, I feel great about it," said Lily May, who rides the bus.

The discount furniture store promises to bring 200 new jobs to the city. It's a job that Lily May says she would not be able to get to without bus transportation.

"You don't have many buses that go in that area," she said.

Right now, route 82 will drop riders off in the general area of the store's future location. But MATA is working to put a stop on the map that would get riders even closer to the store.

MATA is also trying to come up with ways to make the bus route fun and innovative, for example, adding digital screens to some bus stops that show the routes.

MATA's general manager, Ron Garrison, says the proposed route could be based around IKEA's hours.

"It would be a great way to do a reverse commute, to get to work or the doctor downtown," said Garrison. "The flow of the bus and the timing of when the store opens and when employees are there."

The transportation company hopes it will give people like Lily a way to make the commute if a job opportunity comes calling.

The proposed route could be up and running shortly before IKEA opens in fall 2016.

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