WeGO celebrates 250th bus shelter, new facility names

July 28, 2022
The bus shelter is part of an ongoing project to enhance safety and the customer experience and the new names honor influential community members.

WeGo Public Transit welcomed its 250th new bus shelter and celebrated the renaming of several facilities.  

The bus shelter installation is part of an ongoing effort to increase safety and improve the rider experience. Nashville Mayor John Cooper was joined by Metro Councilwoman Kyonzté Toombs, Nashville MTA Board Member Jessica Dauphin, 2021 Bordeaux-North Nashville Participatory Budgeting Cycle Chair Rachel Bell, Reverend Roosevelt Walker and WeGo CEO Steve Bland. 

“In 2014, we had 109 sheltered stops within our system,” Bland said. “Today, we celebrate the installation of our 250th shelter with more than two dozen more under development. We will be breaking ground on a new North Nashville transit center this fall. There is another center in development for Antioch. We are continuing to make enhancements across Davidson County.”  

“On days like today, you realize why we need these shelters, they’re not just for rain. They can really help when it’s so hot out,” Mayor Cooper said. “This project is part of the participatory budgeting process where the community is helping to determine how we spend money.”  

The newly completed bus pad and shelter cost $28,600 and was part of the 2021 Bordeaux-North Nashville Participatory Budgeting Cycle. 

Additionally, Metro Nashville City Council approved an ordinance on July 26 to officially rename WeGo Central in downtown Nashville as the Elizabeth Duff Transit Center at WeGo Central. The council also approved the naming of the future WeGo North Nashville Transit Center as the Ernest ‘Rip’ Patton North Nashville Transit Center. 

Duff was the first female and first African American female bus operator in Nashville when she was hired by the Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority (Nashville MTA) in April 1974. Patton was a college student and member of the Nashville Freedom Riders who participated in the downtown Nashville Civil Rights sit-ins and protests in Mississippi. 

“To me, [this naming] is an inspiration to just keep going forward and to try to follow in her footsteps and be all I can be like she was,” said Virpi Carter, daughter of Elizabeth Duff.  

Michelle Holt, niece of Rip Patton, added, “It shows that all the things that my uncle did was very special, not just to only me, but to everyone he met and came into contact with, and the things he had done for the community and the process of what happened back then until now, and that there is still work to be done.” 

All Metro Council members co-sponsored both bills, an indication of the level of support for the ordinances. The Nashville MTA Board recommended the naming changes during a meeting in April. Duff died of COVID-19 complications on Feb. 13, 2021, at the age of 72. Patton died on Aug. 24, 2021, at the age of 81. An official renaming ceremony will be held at the Elizabeth Duff Transit Center at WeGo Central when signage is installed. Groundbreaking for the Ernest ‘Rip’ Patton North Nashville Transit Center is expected this fall. 

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