NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Big changes are in the works for public transit in Nashville to help keep up with the ridership growth.
Metro leaders said $12.2 million in one-funds included in this year’s Metro budget will help make a high-capacity transit project in the Murfreesboro Pike corridor to Antioch and Nashville International Airport — a reality.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation has announced grant funding toward the improving transit in Southeast Nashville by building a new transit center. Metro will receive a $5 million grant to go toward building the new Hickory Hollow Transit Center.
Officials say the $19.2 million transit center, part of the project to redevelop the Global Mall Property, will have bus bays, waiting rooms, and climate-controlled area where people can wait for buses – very similar to a facility recently built in Green Hills.
“This is on our Murfreesboro Pike line, which is really our busiest bus route, and has shown a lot of more usage in recent years,” said WeGo Public Transit Public Information Officer Eric Melcher. “We’re excited about being able to offer that because the Mayor and the city council just funded the initial funding for high capacity transit on that line, which will then also connect up to the airport.”
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Southeast Nashville is experiencing a lot of growth with plans also including affordable housing.
“There’s a lot of folks using the bus down there in Antioch and folks are using it to get to work,” said Melcher. “It’s interesting, we’ve noticed a big increase of folks going on weekends and at night. And of course, we didn’t quite understand that. We started to think about it and it’s because there’s so many workers that are working at those times. So this is how people get in to get to those jobs and hotels downtown to get to all the things that we think of supports Nashville. That’s what public transit does, it gets workers to where they need to go.”
WeGo is also proposing to have routes run later. Starting this week WeGo is gathering public input on some service changes, which includes operating some routes as late as 1:15 a.m.
“That means someone can actually go to a concert like Taylor Swift and able to take the bus back. They hadn’t necessarily been able to do that before because we’ve been ending it about 12:15/12:30 A.M.” said Melcher. “So, just that timespan gives people so much more flexibility if they’re going out for nightlife.”
There will be two more public meetings to discuss this and other service change proposals.
- Wednesday, June 28 from 12-1 p.m., Virtual meeting
- Thursday, June 29 from 5:30-6:30 p.m., Virtual meeting
For more information on the proposed changes, click here, or call Customer Care at 615-862-5950.