MATA Temporarily Suspends Trolley Service - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

MATA Temporarily Suspends Trolley Service

Posted: Updated:
  • MATA Temporarily Suspends Trolley ServiceMore>>

  • Get FOX13 Breaking News on your mobile device

    Get FOX13 Breaking News on your mobile device

    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
    Get breaking news alerts on your mobile device direct from the FOX13 news desk. On average, you could get as many as three to five alerts on a busy day, as the news merits. Just fill out the form below
    Get breaking news alerts on your mobile device direct from the FOX13 news desk. On average, you could get as many as three to five alerts on a busy day, as the news merits. Just fill out the form below
DOWNTOWN MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) - In the wake of two trolley fires in the past six months, the Memphis Area Transit Authority has decided to temporarily suspend all trolley service in the downtown district. The suspension goes into effect Wednesday.

MATA interim President and CEO Tom Fox said the decision was all about making sure the 1.3 million people that ride the trolleys each year are safe. MATA is working on a temporary solution to bring some of the trolleys back in a couple of months, but they're also looking at a potential long term overhaul.

“The best case scenario would be for us to certify a large number of existing trolleys as safe for a short term solution to get trolley service back in place," said Fox.

MORE: MATA shuts down Madison trolley line indefinitely
MORE: Madison trolley line closed during investigation


They're also exploring a longer term solution, depending on what they find. That might include a complete overhaul or entirely replacing the fleet with new trolleys. That is up in the air right now. We do know all routes will be replaced with bright green hybrid buses. And that's good news for regular trolley riders."I'm just glad to know they're going to resolve the issues and get the trolleys back in business so we can ride them again," said trolley rider Karen Moore.

MATA says a national peer review committee brought in after the fires made this recommendation. In April Madison line passengers were trapped on a trolley after a fire and had to force their way off and there another fire on the same line back in November. Thankfully no one was injured.

Rest assured the trolleys will be back. MATA recognizes they are a part of Memphis history.

"It’s a huge benefit to downtown, not only does it carry a lot of tourists but also locals, it’s an icon and you see them in almost every national TV broadcast," said Fox.

MORE: 7 treated for smoke inhalation after trolley fire
MORE: Fire guts downtown trolley


On April 7 six passengers and a conductor on the Madison Avenue line escaped after a trolley caught fire near AutoZone Park. In November 2013 seven were treated for smoke inhalation after another trolley on the same line caught fire near the medical district.

Fox said the cause of both fires were faulty fuses.

MATA officials, along with city tourism staff, revealed their plans. As of June 11 all 15 trolleys on the Main Street and Riverfront lines will be out of service. The trolleys will be replaced with new green hybrid buses.
 
A national transportation panel that was brought in after the fires recommended a complete overhaul or replacement of all of the trolleys.

"It was a very difficult decision but once the peer review panel told us what the preliminary results were all we thought was we had to act very quickly," Fox said.

Fox said MATA is hoping to re certify at least a couple of trolleys to get them back up and running in three to six months, but they are also looking at the potential of a overhaul of replacement of all of them as a long term solution.

No decision will be made until of all the trolleys are inspected, Fox added.

Then comes a cost analysis to figure out what plan is most feasible. Everyone says there's no worry as these historic trolleys will be back.

Follow FOX13's Alex Flores on Facebook and Twitter

Click here to leave a comment on our Facebook page
Click here to comment on our Twitter

Powered by WorldNow

WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
485 S. Highland St.
Memphis, TN 38111

Main Station: (901) 320-1313
Newsroom: (901) 320-1340

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices