|The Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority board of directors is operating two new bus routes and a number of other service improvements as part of its fall system changes.
Cary Foust Street, communications and marketing specialist for the Regional Transportation Authority, said some of the improvements would directly affect Murfreesboro.
In June, the board of directors voted to approve new and expanded express bus service to Murfreesboro, Smyrna, La Vergne and Gallatin.
On Oct. 1, three new bus routes – Routes 84-X, Murfreesboro Express, 86-X to Smyrna and La Vergne, and 87-X Gallatin Express – began service.
These new routings are available to all RTA customers, including those in Murfreesboro.
“We are definitely ramping up service between Nashville and Rutherford County,” said Dana Richardson, director of the Murfreesboro Transportation Department. “This is a three-year experiment to see if expanded regional service between Murfreesboro, Smyrna and La Vergne is viable.”
Federal funding will underwrite a majority of the cost of this expansion, which will increase the traditional service of 16 trips per day between Rutherford County and Nashville to 31 trips per day, Richardson said.
“The expanded RTA service was also designed to provide connection between Murfreesboro’s Rover public transportation system and the RTA buses,” Richardson said, “so that users of our local system can transfer to and from Nashville buses at the transfer center located at the intersection of Walnut and Burton streets.”
The Route 84-X Murfreesboro Express begins service at Middle Tennessee State University, continues to a new Park-and-Ride lot located at the North Boulevard Church of Christ on North Rutherford Boulevard, and then continues on to Rutherford and Northfield boulevards and Northwest Broad Street.
The bus then travels directly to downtown Nashville via State Route 840 and Interstate 24.
“We’ll be right at the starting gate when the new 31st Avenue Bridge opens,” said Paul J. Ballard, chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Transit Authority. “Riders want more cross-town routes. This new bridge just begs for this one.”
Besides MTSU, the Route 21 University Connector will provide cross-town service connecting six universities including Tennessee State University, Meharry Medical College, Fisk University, Vanderbilt University, Belmont University and Lipscomb University.
In Nashville, buses will travel via the new bridge every 30 to 60 minutes on weekdays and hourly on weekends.