Flyer Flashback 

To mark the Flyer's 20th anniversary, we're looking back at stories from our first two decades.

click to enlarge flashback1-1.jpg

The Memphis Area Transit Authority is in crisis, with problems rooted in funding, routes, demographic changes, and the continued indifference of a public wed to the automobile.

Those are the issues that bedevil the system today, and those were the issues that vexed MATA, as well as local planning authorities, back in September 1996, as documented in Jacqueline Marino's Flyer cover story "The Long Road Home."

As Marino put it then, "For a world-class distribution center, Memphis still has problems transporting people from one side of town to the other. Supporters blame the situation on funding and image. ... Along with the age-old complaints that bus service is too slow, too limited, and too expensive, MATA faces increasing demands from businesses, riders, social advocates, and government critics."

Not much has changed. In 1996, Marino took note of a persistent critic: "'In Europe, in a language I don't know, I can figure out how to get places,' says city councilman John Vergos, one of MATA's most vocal critics. 'But here in the city I live in I can't figure the buses out. The route maps are confusing. A tourist at the Peabody has no idea how to get to Graceland ... . [General Manager William] Hudson knows I disagree with much of MATA's focus. It's not glamorous, but MATA needs to get to the nitty-gritty of running a bus system.'"

Hudson is still aboard and has made some changes over the years but is likely to have to withstand more criticism from Vergos, now an ex-councilman but still a critic and one who was appointed to MATA's governing board just this month by Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery.

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.


Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

News Blog

Tennessee Wants More Hemp Farmers

News Blog

Airbnb Marks Its Biggest Memphis Weekend

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Lisa Mac

From My Seat

NBA Draft Doldrums

Hungry Memphis

Pete & Sam's returns!

We Saw You

When it rains, keep pouring the BBQ sauce

Politics Beat Blog

Keeping Score in Strickland's Tent at the Barbecue Fest

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Jackson Baker

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation