The Memphis Bus Riders Union met on Sunday to discuss the video one of their members shot of MATA riders getting dropped off on the side of an Interstate 40 exit. It's MATA's new drop off for the Greenline route on the way to Southland Park Gaming and Racing.
"There was a guy in a wheelchair, he couldn't even ride his wheelchair on the gravel part so he had to go in the street," says union member Shelia Williams.
Union member Paul Garner says he has seen the video before, but every time he watches it he says it still disgusts him. Garner says, "Seeing that footage every time, I think about the people who are older, people who have mobility issues on the side of that busy road can get hit by a car."
The union says they have made calls as to why the change in drop off location. They are told it's because of an issue between MATA and Southland, but not much else.
"We've been reaching out to MATA, we've been reaching out to city government in West Memphis, reached out to Southland but we haven't been able to get any clear answer on why was MATA banned from the property," says union member Brad Watkins.
Southland Park is approximately a half a mile walk around the corner from where the bus is dropping them off. It's not the walking that's the problem for the union, but the fact that the bus is dropping them off so close to a busy highway exit where people are still going nearly 50 mph.
"There's other places that would be better routes and better places for drop-off without going onto Southland's property," says Watkins.
Instead of waiting for answers to their calls, the union is taking their questions and suggestions right to a MATA board meeting on Nov. 26. They're also taking a petition for change in drop off by Southland Park.
"If this is just a squabble between them (MATA and Southland), I think it's very unfortunate that the bus riders are caught in the middle of this," says Garner.
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