Public Transportation Discussed Tuesday

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Meridian, Miss. Meridian Transit System shut down indefinitely almost two years ago because of financial difficulties.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation partnered with the city of Meridian Tuesday to host a series of sessions to inform the public about a regional transit system call EZ Tag.

"EZ Tag will allow us the option of having transportation not just for specifically Meridian, but for this entire area, and we can have more flexible routes for specific needs of this community," said Meridian Mayor Percy Bland.

The city does operate a trolley through the community development department, though it's primarily just for special events or charter services. Bland says it's important for the community to have dependable transportation.

"We have a lot of needs as it relates to people having access with jobs, shopping, with medical needs, for hospitals, going to dialysis clinics, pharmacies," said Bland. "People need this service, and I think as mayor, I'm going to take the lead, with the city council, to do all we can to make transportation a reality."

Bland says he's looking at some public-private partnerships to get the buses back on the road. He hopes to have the system in place by the fall of 2014.