MEMPHIS, Tenn. – If you don’t have a car, getting to places like work or a doctor’s appointment can be almost impossible in Memphis.
If you live in an area where public transportation is scarce, this can make things even more difficult.
That’s why the Memphis Area Transit Authority has launched a new transit program called Ready! by MATA.
“It’s a bit difficult when people don’t have transportation to and from there,” said Luann Coleman. “We have jobs, but it’s hard to find a way to get there.
Getting to work is a daily challenge for Coleman. She does not have her own car and public transportation in her community of Northaven is scarce.
“I use a Lyft at home, and sometimes I call my older brother from work to bring me back too,” she said.
This is why MATA is expanding its curb-to-curb service to the Northaven, Frayser and Cordova neighborhoods.
“You have people in the neighborhood who have transportation, but a lot of people in the neighborhood don’t,” Coleman said.
Similar to Lyft and Uber, people can request a ride through an app or over the phone and then a Ready! bus will pick them up and take them to any location as long as it is within its service area.
“This allows us to pick up people from the curb in front of their residence or wherever they are and bring them back to the same location,” said MATA CEO Gary Rosenfeld.
Rosenfeld said the Loan! program launched in August. The ten passenger buses are already on the Boxtown, Whitehaven and Westwood routes.
Rosenfeld said he has transported nearly 14,000 runners to these communities.
“It changes the nature of mobility from planning your business and your activities around the bus to planning the bus around your activities,” he said.
For the following year, the service is completely free for riders. Once the agency’s trial period is over, passengers will pay for a MATA bus ticket.
For Northaven residents, that means more access.
“I’m not looking at it just for our convenience. I watch it for the elderly in the neighborhoods. I watch it for people with disabilities in neighborhoods, ”Coleman said.
So far there are 14 Loans! the buses. The CEO of MATA said he plans to purchase 50 more and expand to other underserved areas in the coming months.
You can find the app to download and the map where the buses run here on the MATA website.
© 2021 Cox Media Group