This following can be a typical day while riding on a MATA bus for many others and me. Yesterday, I was at the bus stop to catch the 4 bus at Lauderdale and Mississippi at 7:55 AM. The bus came late at 8:15, should have been there by 8:10. The bus was late to the terminal and I also missed the transfer over to the 53 Summer/ Binghamton bus for 8:27 and the next 53 usually comes late or not at all or I have to catch the 19 Valentine out to where I wanted to go and then walk several blocks to my destination. The good, timely trip is four hours long including wait time. However, on my way back to the starting point at 10:15 AM, the 53-summer bus passed right by me and several other riders so fast that we could not even tell who was driving the bus. We had to wait another hour for the next bus, which was also late. I arrived at the terminal at Noon and we asked the driver to stop the 4 bus and they ignored us. The 4 took off without us and the next one did not come until 12:37. The 5 U of M bus came so I got on it. It got me close enough to home to walk two long blocks home by 1:10 PM --- this was a 6 hour day with MATA to go do one simple thing --- return a package of socks to Ross - Oh and to go to the Kroger since I was out that way. It is just as hard for many people finding a job or keeping one while depending on MATA’s system. Perhaps, we need to scrap MATA and privatize our transit system here in Memphis, TN. Now before you begin to think of me as a common vagabond walking around with a backpack like on that show Kung Fu trying to resolve all our problems, I am not like that person. What I am is a Car-Free Citizen. I have been for several years by choice. And yes, I do know it all - simply because - I actually live the lifestyle that so many of you are only talking about in various community meetings and so far, many of you do not have one clue about how to be Car-Free in Memphis, Tennessee, especially with systems in place that do not work very well. That is why I started this blog carfreememphis.blogspot.com, to provide many of you with valid support that matters the most. It will save you from having to attend a lot of needless community meetings. I mean, why have ongoing community meetings about bike lanes, when the law already allows bike riders to ride down any street without these lanes at all. The lanes are already there, at least in our own minds because it is also pointed out this way in our Tennessee Drivers Manual. So painting bike lanes on the street should not take an act of congress or even asking a community's permission. The law is already on the side of painting those bike lanes. By the way - a group of baboons is called a congress. Yes, that is true, and even funny! But, how long are people going to keep laughing at Memphians for acting just like those baboons. It has been 20 years since we first had the funding of the DOT to do all of this and the powers-that-be here in Memphis refused to do hardly anything for us pedestrians. Now, they want us to have more meetings and do more community outreach, when it has already been done to death. Now they want us to redo these meetings with our unsuspecting young adults - how sad. You, younger folks may also have to wait another 20 to 40 years for your city to work well for you. And of course, it never will work at the rate it is going now. That is, unless you learn from my wisdom. If you do not learn anything, then you will grow older while wearing depends undergarments and as you soil yourselves at bus stops wishing you had listened to me. Meanwhile, other cities around the world will look futuristic and beyond your wildest dreams and also behind gated walls, while Memphis becomes a third-world stench. Now the third- world is not all that bad necessarily, I was having a long discussion, on that very same day, at the MATA terminal, with several older men from South Africa, a third world country, with first world aspirations. These guys insisted that over there, the public transit system is far superior to that of Memphis, despite the third world problems. I decided to find that out for myself and came across the following document: 26th Annual Southern African Transport Conference 2007: http://repository.up.ac.za/handle/2263/5868. There were other documents that I found, but this one seemed to be the most favorable, lacking having been there myself, and trusting these guys at their word, as they were complaining about MATA also, but still truly happy to be living in America. Once you begin reading up on such things, you will also begin to have a well researched opinion on local issues and develop a world view.
Anyway - I love America! God bless America! God bless you!