Monday, March 28, 2016

Townhall on Transit

 Citizens for Better Service aim at problems with MATA

By Christina Clift
Bus operator beshide a MATA bus
On Saturday, March 26, 2016, from 2:00-4:00 PM, Citizens for Better Service held a town hall meeting at the Cossett Library to discuss the experiences of riders of both the Memphis Area Transit Authority’s (MATA) fixed route and paratransit systems.  While members of MATA’s board of commissioners and the Memphis City Council were invited to the event, none of them were in attendance.  

Representatives from the Memphis Bus Riders Union, Memphis Center for Independent Living, Shelby County Schools, and members of the public spoke about the problems they face every day while riding with MATA.  Audience members spoke about how route cuts affect people getting and keeping jobs.  For example, people working on Presidents Island will no longer be able to get to work if the fifteen bus route is cut.  

“MATAplus drivers deserve equal pay for equal work,” said Christina Clift of the Memphis Center for Independent Living. “By equalizing pay, MATA will eliminate the separation between MATA’s divisions and create a better system for all.” 

While no board members or City Council representatives were present, MATA did send Alvin Pearson, Scarlett Ponder, and Gary Dupper.  They took notes about the concerns of audience participants and promised to follow up.