|Courtesy: The Commercial Appeal|
But riding the bus in Memphis can be a challenge. In some case, it takes intricate, almost reconnaissance-like planning and scoping to get from where you are to where you want to go. The way buses are scheduled, if you are traveling to a transfer point and the bus you are one arrives late, you plans either change on the fly or you wait it out until the next bus rolls along. That, along with the fact that many areas of the metro area are not widely served (namely the surrounding affluent suburban areas and the far eastern portion of Shelby County) does not make relying upon MATA a realistic possibility.
While noble and bold in conception, the aspect of ditching your car for a month in the name of reducing auto emissions and helping the environment is laughable. For now, anyway.
For those not from Memphis, you must understand that there is a stigma attached to not owning a car in this city. It doesn't matter if you're driving a $500 raggedy tax refund used jalopy, you're better than those people who have to ride the bus. That alone will keep people away from MATA. Or walking. Or riding a bike.
|Courtesy: Memphis Daily News|
If bike routes and lanes expanded, this would help. But the harsh truth is that Memphis drivers are not used to sharing the road with bikers. Drivers often use bike lanes like shoulder, with no regard for the bike lanes' intended use.
Going car-free is idealist, nothing more. A good idea, but still, just an idea, really.
More info about Memphis' 30 Day Car Free Challenge can be found here.