Bus riders battle cold, long wait times

Local News

Overcrowded buses have become an issue along one route in East Nashville.

It’s become especially tough on riders who rely solely on WeGo for transportation.

Every weekday, Daniel Holmes comes to work at the Poverty and the Arts (POVA) Artist Collective on Dickerson Pike.

“This here took almost two weeks to work on because it’s a swing art,” said Holmes describing a piece of his art. “They’ve given us the opporunity to express ourselves.”

But in the past few weeks, just getting to and from the workshop has been extra tough.

“I’ve broken down and cried,” said Holmes.

What’s supposed to be a 15 to 30 minute wait to catch the number 23 bus has turned into hours.

“I’ve waited as far as an hour to two hours for a bus, simply because they are so inundated with people trying to get to the bus,” said Holmes.

But it’s not just the wait – it’s also the change in weather.

“Very cold it’s been 20-degrees,” he said.

Add the lack of shelter, and Holmes said it puts riders at risk.

“We have no way of protecting ourselves against the cold weather or against the rain,” he said.

Daniel’s route was not impacted by the $8.7 million budget cuts by WeGo.

But riders nearby who did see their routes change in September are likely migrating to his stop, causing that overflow.

WeGo said it’s aware of the issue, monitoring through boarding counts and deploying larger buses and extra vehicles.

The goal is to find a long-term fix.

Holmes said he hopes something will be done as soon as possible, not just for him.

“It literally has affected me emotionally because I see these people and they have no opportunity to get on the buses and it’s not their fault,” he said. “They shouldn’t be held accountable for the system the city government has done.”

WeGo added it’s asking for patience as it works to figure out the best way to address the issue.

It’s important to note – Dickerson Pike is one of WeGo’s top five busiest routes next to Nolensville, Murfeesboro, and Gallatin Pikes.

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