Thursday, March 12, 2015

MATA Hopes for May Return of Trolleys

Posted By on Thu, Mar 12, 2015 at 5:05 PM

click to enlarge MATA president Ron Garrison answers reporters' question about trolley service on Thursday.
  • MATA president Ron Garrison answers reporters' question about trolley service on Thursday.

Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) official president Ron Garrison said Thursday he hopes to have some sort of trolley service back on the tracks in time for the Memphis in May International Festival.

Garrison said he wants to have trolley service back “right before” the festival so “Memphis in May can run smoothly.”

Garrison faced a phalanx of news cameras Thursday after he faced a frustrated crowd Tuesday evening during a meeting of the South Main Association. That crowd all had a single question, a question that many have had for Garrison and MATA: When will the trolleys be back in Memphis?

Garrison did not have a simple answer to the question Thursday. Instead, he said MATA officials and a group of consultants have short term, mid-range, and long-term plans for the trolleys’ return.

Short-term trolley service (the service that could return by May) could include trolleys or streetcars leased or purchased from other transit systems, Garrison said.

He likened the long-term goal of renewed trolley service in Memphis to “birthing a baby” and said “we are re-doing our rail and rail safety program from the ground up.” 

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