MTA keeps its promise to fix bus station bathroom

Two months ago, Music City Riders United (MCRU) posted a photo of the men’s bathroom at Music City Central, the downtown bus station.  The photo equated the vandalized restroom to the bathrooms at the old state prison, showing the missing stalls in both bathrooms.  The transit riders’ advocacy group’s photo caught the attention of MTA board members and a few local media outlets, and the MTA promised swift action.

Within a few weeks, Lamont Walters noticed that the MTA was putting up some temporary stalls in the men’s restroom:

Today, I went by and saw that the transit agency had completed its work, installing permanent stalls, hand soap dispensers, and new hot air hand dryers:

Men's bathroom at Music City Central

MCRU also reports that the MTA has promised cleaner bathrooms for both women and men.

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MTA’s EasyRide not so easy to set up

Several months ago, Stephen Yeargin tried to get his company set up with with Metro Transit Authority’s (MTA) EasyRide program.  This program allows employers to pay for their employees’ rides on public transit in and around Nashville.

Already, such large institutions as Vanderbilt, the state government, and Metro participate in EasyRide.  Employees from these institutions receive special MTA cards they tap on the fare box (or, in the case of Vanderbilt, swipe their Vanderbilt ID badges) when boarding a bus or the Music City Star.  But the program is actually available to any employer who wants to participate — though Mr. Yeargin discovered it’s more difficult to set up than it should be.

Earlier: Nashville MTA may get new fare payment system

It took him seven months to get EasyRide for his company.  He found that there’s practically no information on MTA’s website and that MTA required multiple letters of credit for his employer (a burden for small companies).  Many companies won’t bother jumping through all these hoops, he frets, when they should be trying to increase ridership through initiatives like this:

I believe the only barrier to more folks using EasyRide is the operational inefficiencies of signing up for the program. Signing up companies is the easiest way to grow ridership, and thereby improve transit in the region.

Moreover, the customer service representative he spoke to at Music City Central seemed to know little about EasyRide.  “I think that’s only for Vanderbilt and State employees,” the representative told him.

Mr. Yeargin made five recommendations for improving the the signup for EasyRide, from getting rid of a required in-person presentation to having fewer steps in the application process.

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MTA gets shamed about prison-like bathroom conditions, finally promises to fix the problem

Recently, Music City Riders United, a group of MTA riders working to improve the transit system, circulated a photo of the men’s bathroom at Music City Central:

Music City Central is MTA’s central bus station next to the state capitol.  Fox 17 is reporting that the MTA is promising to fix the problem only after being publicly shamed.

The bathroom has looked like this for weeks.  And there is usually no toilet paper available and no water in the sinks.

Later on, Music City Riders Union compared Music City Central’s restrooms to those of Riverfront Station, which serves the Music City Star commuter train:

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MTA to make changes to fall schedule, fails to give details to public until meeting time

The MTA announced in June that there would be public meetings regarding the proposed changes to the fall bus schedules — and then failed to publish those changes until just hours before the first meeting.  And the public (at least a small slice of it) let them know about their dissatisfaction:

Even still, some of the details are still a little murky.

According to the presentation published on the website shortly before the first meeting, the changes will include:

  • Route 4 Shelby
    • Minor afternoon route adjustment to pick up students at Stratford STEM Magnet High School during dismissal time
  • Route 6 Lebanon Pike
    • Minor reduction to Weekday afternoon service – reduce number of trips by one
  • Route 30 McFerrin
    • Minor schedule adjustments to facilitate transfers at Music City Central
  • Route 34 Opry Mills
    • Add bus to Saturday afternoon service to increase frequency and improve service reliability
    • Remove Donelson Station from Saturday routing (now served by Route 6 Lebanon Pike)
    • Adjust downtown routing to use 2nd Ave on local inbound trips (currently uses 5th Ave)
    • Adjust afternoon schedule to better match McGavock High School dismissal times
  • Route 56 Gallatin Pike BRT
    • Add bus to Weekday afternoon rush hour service to improve service reliability
  • RTA Route 94X Clarksville Express
    • Add additional morning and afternoon trip
    • Relocation of current Park and Ride location on I-24 from Exit 8 to Exit 11

In an email, MTA Transit Planner Shontrill Lowe also wrote that the elimination of a trip on route 6 would free up a bus for use on route 56.  These changes are all set to go into effect on September 25.

There will be two more public meeting about the changes on Thursday at 11:30 to 1:00 and 4:30 to 6:00.  The meetings will be held in the MTA’s Community Meeting Room, which is on the second level of Music City Central.

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Police seeking 16-year-old for Music City Central shooting

MNPD has named a suspect in Monday’s shooting of four teenagers at the central bus station, and they’re seeking the public’s help in locating him:

Javious Chatman, the most critically-injured victim, has been upgraded to stable condition at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

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Music City Central back in operation with extra security

After yesterday’s shooting at Music City Central, police are stepping up patrols of the central bus station:

Police are saying that the incident doesn’t appear to have been random.  After viewing surveillance footage from the terminal, they say that the shooter was riding the escalators up and down before shooting, as if he were looking for someone.  Although two teenagers are in custody, police are not yet sure if they are suspects in the shooting.

Mayor Barry released a statement focusing on youth violence in the city, which has been a major focus in her administration, but didn’t have much to say about the MTA itself:

The shooting today at Music City Central is a tragic reminder of the plague of gun violence in our society, where one person with a gun can devastate lives and bring a city to a halt in a moment’s notice. My heart sank when I heard that youth were the victims in this shooting, and my hope and prayer for those victims and their families is that they have a full and speedy recovery.

Metro Police will be assigning additional officers to the terminal in the coming days, and as a clearer picture of the shooting today comes into view, I will be meeting with Police and MTA officials to see what we can do better to improve security at Music City Central and prevent incidents like this in the future.

As Mayor, as a Nashvillian, and as a mother, I will never accept a status quo where our children fear being victims of violence when getting on a bus, going to school, or walking in their neighborhoods. I remain committed to working with our entire community to implement recommendations from the Youth Violence Summit Report and create better outcomes for all of our children.

Yesterday, the lower level of the terminal reopened fairly soon after the incident, but the upper level buses continued to board on the streets around the station.  Today, the station is back in full operation:

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Shooting at central bus station

One teenager was critically injured, while three others received minor injuries, by a gunman at Music City Central just before 4:00 this afternoon. The shooting happened on the escalator. Two suspects are now reported to be in police custody.

A nearby citizen told WSMV that he saw an estimated 25 emergency vehicles arrive at the scene.

This is sure to affect the evening commute home for most bus commuters who use the central station, but the only alert put out by the MTA was, “Customers may experience some delays to our services due to an emergency at Music City Central.”

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