MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Area Transit Authority is proposing major changes that will end bus routes at 7 p.m., suspend many routes indefinitely and lead to longer wait times starting Dec. 3

That would have a direct impact on many people who use the public transit service. Joyce Simelton uses Route 37 in the Raleigh area, one of the routes that would be suspended.

“(I) had to figure out how I’m going to get home in the evening. That’s a problem,” Simelton said. “You tell me these people have to walk an hour to two hours to get a bus, or have to walk over a bridge?”

Several other routes, and the Madison and Riverfront trolleys, would also be suspended. See details here.

The problem is that since the pandemic, MATA ridership numbers have remained low.

“Our ridership has not recovered since pandemic. It still lower than we would like it to be,” said MATA’s Chief Development Officer John Lancaster. 

MATA received $76 million in federal dollars this year. But Lancaster says that money only allows for capital improvements, not salaries and bus services.

“That’s a big misconception. They think we have this money, but we really don’t,” Lancaster said.

The proposed changes still need board approval on Oct. 24 to go into effect.

“I think they have hard choices. No one is gonna be happy. It’s tough,” said Suzan Moresi, who lives in the area.