Thursday, June 26, 2008

MATA Misses its Moment?

After this week's Flyer cover story about public transit in Memphis, we received an interesting email from Johnnie Mosley, founder and chairman of the public advocacy group Citizens for Better Service.

Citizens, which was founded in 1993, is a MATA watchdog and tries to make sure that bus riders are treated fairly. In 2000, the group opposed a MATA rate hike, saying that the transit authority should cut administrative expenses before raising fares.

Mosley had this, in part, to say in response to the story:

"I was warned by Mr. Hudson that this was a bad time for mass transit, expecially MATA some time ago. My response to Mr. Hudson was that this is the best time to implement creative ways to get new rider on the bus and things like an increase in fares and cutting service should be a last, not first resort."

"If MATA would take the time to look at the routes and find ways to increase routes, instead of cutting routes, it would send a strong message that MATA is serious about getting and keeping new passengers. If you talk to people who do not ride public transportation ... they will tell you that they would like to ride a bus but the buses do not fit in their schedule. In other words, if MATA finds a way to get the buses in their daily schedule so they could get to their destinations in 25 minutes instead of 2 hours, they would park their cars."

Mosley concluded by saying that Citizens for Better Service had been bringing up similar issues for the past 15 years and they would continue watching the transit authority as it deals with "what you called 'MATA's Moment of Truth.'"

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