MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - By the end of 2016, MATA and City of Memphis officials said a major step toward improving the quality of service Memphians receive with public transportation will be in place.
MATA is planning to straighten out routes and add several express routes.
By straightening out routes, MATA said it will increase the frequency of service. They also plan to make the current bus system easier for customers to understand and use.
MATA said it is also planning to add several express routes. The routes will link the eastern parts of the county with Downtown Memphis, which would streamline nearly 5,500 MATA stops.
"Memphis deserves and can have a first-class transit system like you see in any other major city," Ron Garrison, MATA President and General Manager, said. "That's my goal."
The improvements are expected to be completed by the end of the year and without significant increase to operating cost.
Memphis City Mayor Jim Strickland said public transportation is important not only in the daily lives of Memphis residents, but in recruiting businesses.
"It's essential that we have a solid transportation plan that allows people to get to work on time, and helps the city recruit businesses to Memphis," Strickland said.
In addition to the short-term improvements that are currently underway, the city and MATA said they are committed to long-term improvements that will make Memphis' public transportation system more efficient and effective for everyone.
They said the best option in reaching that goal has not yet been identified, and it is too early to talk about any specific proposal in depth.