Transit System Working on Comeback

Public transportation is a step closer to being restored in Meridian.

In late February, Meridian Transit System abruptly shut down due to staggering debts.

Since then the city contributed some money to help pay off some of the debts, and transit officials say they have now officially sealed the deal to hopefully prevent this from happening in the future.

"Actually Meridian Transit is gone, but transit service in Meridian is not gone," said Bo Hawkins, president of the Meridian Transit board.

Instead, Hawkins says the transit board has voted to join a regional transportation initiative called EZ Tag.

"That's as the East Central Transit Action Group and it's a combination of several counties: Smith, Neshoba, Leake ,Newton, Lauderdale,Jasper, but not limited to these counties," said Hawkins.

As part of this reorganization effort, Hawkins says consultants for Meridian Transit System are examining the best ways to restructure bus routes.

"A lot of the routes were outdated and old," he said. "We'll open back up with a more efficient route system. That's one of the main goals. Sometime within the next two weeks we should have this plan in our hands and start to work with Choctaw Transit, which will become the governing authority for the EZ Tag system and at Meridian Transit. We will work together to finalize routes and all the logistical planning that it takes to put a transit system in place."

Hawkins says this new partnership will ultimately expand public transportation service in Meridian in many ways and possibly lead to the rehiring of all 12 employees.

Hawkins said it's possible that 24 hours/7 days a week bus service will return to Meridian.

Because there are still many legal and logistical things that still need to be worked out, Hawkins says it will possibly be mid-summer before actual bus service starts.

"We'll open with a bigger and better transit system.," Hawkins said.

Prior to closing, Meridian Transit System had six part-time and six full-time employees. Currently, transit board members say roughly 80 percent of the agency's $65,000 debt has been repaid.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by tim on Apr 10, 2012 at 08:14 PM
    we cant keep having free handouts when the money isnt their..its got to pay for its self....
  • by Custodian Location: Mdn on Apr 10, 2012 at 01:46 PM
    I am happy that there will be a bus service sooner or later in Meridian. I have hopes that there will be a handicapped (para-transit) service available. I am planning a knee operation in the Summer of this year and when exactly I have this operation depends on when and if there is a bus service available in this city. I need the handicapped service for the operation in that I'll have physical therapy twice a week for 6 weeks. I cannot afford this much taxi cab service and still remain financially intact. I'll have the operation in either July, August or September, depending on when the transit system is finally available. I also hope that all employees can be rehired, as they have (imho,) done an excellent job for decades.
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