Pastor Jonathan Prince thinks MATA is giving Germantown, Bartlett, and Collierville "a free ride."
"MATA is trying to provide service to community that are not willing to support those services financially," Prince said at last night's public hearing on proposed MATA route changes. "If you don't want to see these cuts, you need to talk to the powers that be in Germantown and Collierville."
About 50 people attended the meeting.
MATA has proposed eliminating MATAPlus service beyond 3/4 mile of a fixed-route, increasing the amount of time between bus service for several routes, and discontinuing the Collierville and Germantown Parkway routes.
Eugenia Williams has a brother with special needs and spoke against the proposed cuts to MATAPlus, MATA's service for disabled passengers. MATA currently provides service to passengers up to six miles away from a fixed route.
"If [my brother] were to stop receiving services, he would be at home alone all day since I have to work," she said. "Look beyond MATAPlus recipients. ... These people have no where else to turn."
Other speakers were concerned about bus maintenance, hours of service, and proposed rate increases.
According to the proposal, MATA would discontinue transfers for fixed-route bus and trolley service.
"Passengers would be required to pay the base fare each time they board a bus or a trolley," read information passed out at last night's meeting.
[On a personal note, I'm not sure about eliminating transfers. If you have a system that is designed around hubs, like this one is, you have to transfer to get just about anywhere. Not only does it just seem tacky to design the system this way and then charge users for it, but you're basically doubling — or tripling — the cost of public transportation.]
The next hearing on the changes will be Thursday, July 30th, 6 p.m. at the Benjamin Hooks Central Library. You can also email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.