Free bus service to begin Monday in urban core

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 3:42pm
Music City Circuit will start Monday with seven hybrid buses

Bright green hybrid buses will begin circling Nashville’s urban core on Monday, picking passengers up for free, as Metro Transit Authority’s new downtown circulator officially opens.

With its arrival, Metro leaders hope to spark greater interest in public transit in a city that’s often lagged behind others in terms of transit options.

The Music City Circuit, as it’s called, is the product of federal stimulus dollars that paid $500,000 each for two 40-foot hybrid buses and five smaller $100,000 versions. Next week, the buses will become part of two separate downtown routes available to commuters free of charge.

“We think this will expose more people to public transit and will also serve the needs of folks just moving around downtown,” MTA Executive Director Paul Ballard said. “It’s a two-pronged effort.”

The green circuit moves east to west, making stops at various points between Riverfront Park and The Gulch neighborhood, while the blue circuit runs north to south and extends to Bicentennial Mall. Both are open Monday though Saturday.

The blue circuit will stop offering rides by 6 p.m. each night, but buses along the green circuit won’t stop until midnight. Pick-up times are every 30 minutes in the morning, and every 10 or 15 minutes in the afternoon and evening.

“This new downtown bus circulator is a significant step toward making our existing mass transit more convenient,” Mayor Karl Dean said. “And the best part of this is it’s free.”

The seven buses are considered state-of-the-art. They contain wider aisles than conventional buses, run smoother and quieter, and utilize bright LED signs on the exterior for easy readability. In addition, the hybrid buses are designed to reduce fuel consumption by more than 40,000 gallons each month.

6 Comments on this post:

By: concernedtaxpayer on 3/24/10 at 4:30

"And the best part of this is it's free."
Correction: This is not free. It comes at a cost and federal tax dollars are paying for this service. As a result, taxpayers end up paying for the buses and all additional costs of this service.

And I believe I have heard something about $7.5 million coming to Nashville to become healthier due to the obesity problem. Sounds like this is not a solution. I believe that everyone burns more calories and loses more weight by walking than sitting your bum on a bus.

By: tdterry1999 on 3/24/10 at 6:09

yes lets lay people off then give away free bus rides.what a backwards government we have.

By: richgoose on 3/24/10 at 8:10

free lunch,free health care,food stamps,welfare checks,free bus rides,basketball goals in the parks. What more could a underclass bucket of snot need as he slides through the worl?

By: Tall_Fella on 3/25/10 at 9:51

The circulator should NOT be FREE. Portland's Tri-Met transit agency recently stopped their Fareless Square program (free bus rides in the immediate downtown area) after security issues arose from vagrants riding buses and causing trouble.

Make the fare at least $1, which creates a price elasticity low enough to still encourage tourists, downtown residents and workers to use the system, yet high enough to discourage vagrancy, etc.

By: idgaf on 3/25/10 at 1:48

By: richgoose on 3/24/10 at 9:10
free lunch,free health care,food stamps,welfare checks,free bus rides,basketball goals in the parks. What more could a underclass bucket of snot need as he slides through the worl?

Pay their cell phone/cable bills of cource. They are awfully high.

By: Myth_of_the_Nob... on 4/24/10 at 11:54

1,000 people a day already using it after just 3 weeks of service. Ridership continues to grow.

How much do you pay for parking at a suburban shopping mall? Free? Think again, those cost about 3,000 to 5,000 dollars a space to construct plus ongoing maintenance. Where are those costs?... thats right, hidden in the products that you and I buy, they also find their way into inflated property values, tenant leases, and apartment rents.

Lets talk about subsidized consumer behavior for a second:

-$40 Billion in annual federal spending on highways and roads

-$200+ Billion in annual private spending to construct and maintain "free" parking

We spend more on parking every year than we do on national defense. Motorist behavior is more subsidized than transit riding behavior.