The South Intermodal Terminal is being built near the airport and they partnered with Greyhound to move from downtown and to operate out of this terminal. It’s expected to be completed in early August, and at this time it is currently on time and under budget.
Burton says, “It’s a good development for that area. It’s close to the airport; we’re building it where we can have rail there if we wanted to add that component.”
Showing commitment to sustainability, MATA will be going for LEED certification for the project. “It’s the first government building in Shelby County that is going to have that,” says Fox.
About going for LEED certification, Fox says the planning department brought the recommendations to Mr. Hudson during the design stage. It was a little bit late, ideally it would have started at the very beginning he says, but after a little work with the architect, they were excited to do it. He also says that for operating costs, this facility is going to save them money in the long run.
“The people in the community are just really impressed and kind of surprised in some ways that we’re doing this, that we’re ahead of other public agencies in the county,” Fox says.
And for those attending APTA’s Bus & Paratransit Conference, Hudson points out that there is a technical tour of the facility for industry people to get a closer look.
Also in development is the installation of an ITS system. Hudson says it’s all about communication. And as he, Fox and Burton talk about it, he says, “It’s exciting!
“We’ve been trying to get a vehicle locater here for 25 years. It’s kind of old-school for everybody else, but it’s new for us, so we’re ready to take advantage of it like it just came out on the market.”
Burton says they currently do some counts now manually so this will help with efficiency. “Just knowing that real-time information that we’ve been trying to get for our system for more than a decade, to know that they’re actually starting installation on the vehicles …
“It’s going to happen before retirement!” she stresses.
Fox explains, “Alison and I keep trying to tell the technical folks, let’s focus at least partially on how the riding public is going to benefit from this. They’ll have real-time.”
He says they’ll have signage at the terminals and a cell phone app so riders can get a text with real-time information. “That’s going to be huge for us.”
And guiding MATA through its next period of growth will be the short-range transit plan. Hudson says it gives them an opportunity to bring stakeholders from all over the community together. “This gives us an opportunity to hear what they have to say, see if they can give us some input into where should MATA go in the future.” He adds, “It gives them an opportunity to say I’ve had an input in where MATA’s going for the future.”
Burton says Memphis still focuses a lot on personal automobiles, parking, those types of things and that the short-range plan will help to put the focus on public transportation in a way that it hasn’t been.
Hudson says, “We’ll line up stakeholders for them [the consultants] to talk to, meet and discuss. I’m looking forward to that and community meetings. It’s just a great opportunity for folks to come in.”
When it comes to funding, Hudson says it’s about trying to get a piece of the pie in order to help move transit because there are so many needs for transit. And with fuel going up, it increases the costs and the budget. Funding everywhere is a universal problem at this time, he says.
“We’re hoping that the politicians in charge of all of this will understand the need for public transit and keep it in the forefront,” says Hudson. “The news is not good at this point and time; it’s really not. But we don’t stop working. We continue to try and take advantage of all of the outlets we have to offer.”
One thing that’s worked in their favor is that they’ve been fortunate enough to have an excellent lobbyist, Burton says. “We have been successful in past years for specific earmarks for certain projects, like the Madison project was full funding and it came in under budget and on time in March 2004.”