(Memphis) If you’re one of the thousands who take a MATA shuttle to sports games in Memphis, you might need to find another ride next season.
But Monday’s MATA’s Board of Commissioners decided to put off the vote to eliminate the costly game shuttles, hoping for a compromise with the Grizzlies and the Tigers.
Board members say even if the shuttles to games were completely full, MATA would still lose money, but they are hoping the Grizzlies and Tigers might pitch in to make up the losses.
MATA is hoping to talk with the Grizzlies, Tigers and organizers of the Southern Heritage Classic to see if they might be willing to advertise with MATA to make up for the money lost when MATA shuttles people to their games
About 8,000 riders take a shuttle to the games throughout the season. Many of them are elderly or disabled.
MATA can only charge $4 each way because of federal regulations, and ends up losing about $90,000 a year.
With cuts in federal funding, MATA figures eliminating these game shuttles is the logical thing to do, but a representative from the University of Memphis says the shuttles are just too important.
“The University of Memphis is a unique school where the city has a ton of people that support the Tigers and this Mass transit system that comes from all over the city into downtown traveled on by a lot of our donors and supporters and season-ticket holders,” said Ryan Alpert, the director of development for the University of Memphis.
Alpert says he’s looking forward to more discussions with MATA on how they can come to a comprise.
Since the first game that will need a shuttle in the next season is the Southern Heritage Classic in September, MATA board members believe they have time to table this issue until sometime around June.