Friday, August 4, 2017

STAC Report for August

More operators and new buses

By Allison Donald
Over the next several months MATA will undergo several changes that will affect the daily operations of MATAplus.  The proposed changes at MATA are designed to improve the riders experience and address on time performance.
Gary Rosenfeld is interim CEO and as soon as the MATA Board of Directors chooses a permanent chief executive, STAC will request a meeting.  The STAC committee wants to foster a relationship of collaboration with the new CEO of MATA instead of being ignored and given lip service as previous administrations have done.

Allison Donald

MATAplus has already began implementing practices in an effort to streamline operations and improve the overall customer service.  La Barbara Houston stated, that Tia Landry the certification coordinator is working to resolve problems before they become an issue during the application process.  As a result, STAC has seen a decrease in appeals request.

La Barbara Houston says her goal is to have a total of seventy-two drivers on the street.  MATAplus currently has sixty drivers and plans to add eight more after their training is completed.  She expects to add nine buses to the fleet in November and December.  The plan is to get away from the buses with lifts in favor of the buses with ramps.  Hiring more drivers and adding more buses to the street will improve on time performance and stop trips being delayed and buses breaking down in the middle of runs.

The dispatching department will be moving to the Hudson Center.  All of the calls concerning both the fixed route and MATAplus will be going to the same place. MATAplus has seven dispatchers and plans to keep two dispatchers in the office until 8:00pm to catch those riders in the evening.  MATAplus will be adding two new dispatchers to cut down on hold times and monitor the voicemail. One dispatcher will specifically be there to answer exact time of arrival calls and handle the voicemails.  

The MATA board voted for the service changes Tuesday.  The new routes are the 280 Airways Express, from Downtown’s Hudson Transit Center to the Airways Transit Center. The 340 Walnut Grove Express, from Downtown to the Agricenter (Express buses will each run six trips a day, three morning and three evening). The 45 Appling Farms, serving business and government office developments in an area between Shelby Farms and Bartlett. The 31 Firestone, replacing service that New Chicago lost in a previous route realignment. The 31 will connect North Memphis to the Memphis Medical District area. 

MATA operator
If you are a MATAplus rider adding these new routes will increase the service area for our community as well, because it allows riders to come back into the MATA service area.
If you have any complaints or comments you can attend the monthly MATA board meeting which is every fourth Monday of the month.  The STAC meeting is also held on the second Friday of the month.  STAC committee and MATAplus will be celebrating the annual driver appreciation luncheon on October 19, 2017 from 11:00 to 3:00.  If you would like to contribute to the event please contact Bobbie Fields or Christina Clift at the Memphis Center for Independent Living at 901-726-6404.