It’s time to reimagine how we get around in Memphis. Check out these five ways to save money, help the environment, and maybe even have a little fun along the way.
If you’ve lived in Memphis for more than a day, you’re probably familiar with the sight of the big, green and white MATA (Memphis Area Transit Authority) buses in the far right lanes. These buses transport more than 7.2 million people around the Memphis area every year, and they’re a solid option for getting around town. At only $1.75 per ride (less for students, seniors, and individuals with disabilities), they are cost efficient, although new riders should be warned that they accept exact change only. To plan your next ride, visit the MATA website here for more info on bus routes and schedules. Don’t forget to download the Transloc Rider app for up-to-date information on bus arrivals and routes.
For those in the Downtown and Midtown areas, trolleys provide another unique and fun mode of transportation. While they won’t exactly satisfy your need for speed (they only run every 20-30 minutes), the trolleys will get you where you need to go in style, saving you from the angst of paying to park downtown. The trolleys are currently running in two basic varieties: rail cars and trolley buses. The classic rail cars run down the Main Street Trolley rail line from Butler Ave to A.W. Willis Ave and back again, taking you back in time with their beautifully refurbished vintage interiors.
The trolley buses, which closely resemble the original rail cars but run on wheels instead, will take you along the Madison Ave or Riverfront routes. Base fares for all lines are $1 per ride, and day passes are available for $3.50. On the last Friday of each month, ride the Main Street line free from 6pm-9pm as part of the South Main Trolley Night, a monthly event hosted by the galleries and shops of the South Main Arts District. Learn more about routes, attractions, and trolley schedules here.
Explore Bike Share:
Designed by Memphians, for Memphians, the newly released Explore Bike Share program offers another prime way to traverse the city, while simultaneously having fun and getting a little exercise. The program works by offering a network of stations around the city, stocked with safe, sturdy bikes. The bikes are designed to suit riders with a range of ability, and are built for urban use. Once you’ve located the station nearest you using Explore’s online station map or the BCycle app, simply pay for your ride, check out a bike, and hit the road.
How to Use Explore Bike Share:
- Set up an Explore membership online, through the app or at the station kiosks.
- Select from: single ride, weekly, monthly or yearly plan.
- Note that each ride lasts up to 60 minutes plus $5 per additional hour.
- Enjoy unlimited hour-long rides for only $15/month.
- To end your ride, dock your bike at the station nearest your destination.
The fleet of roughly 600 bikes is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so you can get wherever you need to go whenever you need to get there. Learn more about Explore Bike Share and set up your membership here.
This national electric scooter sharing program has recently expanded its reach to the 901. The company works by offering electric scooters, called Birds, to users who pay for rides through their app. Each scooter can drive up to 15 mph, and can travel up to 15 miles at full charge. The rides cost $1 up front, plus an additional $0.15 per minute of use. The Birds are primarily concentrated in the Downtown, Midtown, Uptown, South City, and Cooper-Young areas, although the company plans to grow their fleet throughout the city if the first wave proves successful.
How to Use Bird:
- Use the Bird app to locate a scooter near you.
- Scan the scooter on your app to unlock it, pay, and begin your ride.
- When you’re finished, leave the scooter near a public bike rack or an accessible public location that does not obstruct pedestrian traffic.
While Birds aren’t exactly designed to get you from one end of the city to the other, they provide a fun new option for covering short distances and rolling through your favorite areas with flair.
Memphis Area Ride Share:
While the local government doesn’t currently offer a service for organizing carpools, they do encourage people to form their own carpool groups in order to save money, increase efficiency, and reduce air pollution. If you’re looking to simplify a lengthy commute, however, consider Memphis Area Ride Share’s vanpool option. Enterprise has partnered with the Shelby County Health Department’s Air Quality Improvement Branch to offer groups of five or more employees the opportunity to form a vanpool group, splitting the cost of the rental of a newer model van or SUV among the participants every month. For single rides, consider using Uber Pool or Lyft Line to carpool with other riders and save money rather than simply riding solo.