Memphis, TN— The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 713 hosted a town hall meeting on Saturday, August 13, 2016 to discuss how cuts to bus service and route consolidation negatively affect underserved communities in Memphis.
The town hall was held at the Gaston Community Center on 1046 South Third Street, near the path of the old 31 Crosstown bus route. Severall community leaders an organizations were present. The conversation was facilitated by the Memphis Bus Riders Union.
The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) represents MATA's bus and trolley operators, mechanics, laborers, and information specialists. In April, ATU Local 713 joined the Memphis Bus Riders Union (MBRU) in a campaign to increase city funding for buses, which resulted in a $7.5 million increase in MATA's budget this fiscal year. Now the two groups have set their sights on restoring service in areas like North and South Memphis, where they say cuts have most affected quality of life for black residents.
"It's just a lose-lose situation for the public when we've got to get out there and routes are constantly being cut," said local union rep Fred Williams.