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Tupelo OKs public transit overhaul

Changes to the City of Tupelo’s public transportation system are on the horizon.

City officials voted Tuesday to overhaul the system by eliminating the fixed route system and allowing all city residents to request a transportation bus to pick them up from their home instead.

The city currently has two methods of travel within the public transit system. There are fixed routes that operate in a continuous loop with bus stops in certain locations. The other system is an on-demand system where elderly and disabled people could request a vehicle pick them up at their home.

Now, all citizens will be able to use the on-demand system. If residents want to use the on-demand system, they will have to call the transportation office 48 hours in advance and pay a $2 fare charge.

The Tupelo City Council unanimously voted for the change, saying not enough people were using the route system, but people have been using the on-demand system, The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported.

Mayor Jason Shelton said the changes are a compromise between council members divided over whether to continue public transportation at all.

“With the on-demand system from day one, we were just knocking it out of the park,” Shelton said. “We were having better numbers than we had hoped for. The fixed route was a challenge from the beginning. The layout of the city of Tupelo is not conducive to a minimal fixed route bus system. We can’t afford to go up and down every street.”

Shelton said he supports continuing public transportation and wants to renew the program at the appropriate time.

The changes will go into effect on July 1, and the public transportation pilot program will be up for renewal after Sept. 30.

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About Ross Reily

Ross Reily is editor of the Mississippi Business Journal. He is a husband to an amazing wife, dad to 3 crazy kids and 2 dogs. He is also a fan of the Delta State Fighting Okra and the Boston Red Sox.