Public invited to Transit Equity Day events, online and in-person Feb 1-4

Many Memphians don’t have access to reliable transportation. Bus routes can add hours to a commute, even if the stops are in a convenient location. Folks who own vehicles often have to share them with a family member, not to mention how expensive it is to keep a car in working order. Transportation infrastructure may not be evenly maintained throughout the city.
“It is no secret that being mobile in Memphis is not easy. As we have unevenly sprawled eastward for decades, it has made it very difficult for working class Memphians to get to the key services, assets, and resources needed for a quality life.”
—Austin Harrison, Rhodes College Visiting Assistant Professor of Urban Studies
Maryland-based nonprofit Labor Network for Sustainability organizes an annual Transit Equity Day on February 4, Rosa Parks’ birthday. They aim to encourage communities across the country to address and improve a range of issues that can impact access to transportation—like infrastructure, affordability, safety, and sustainability.

What started as one day of education and action in 2018 has grown into a week-long coordinated network of events happening in dozens of communities in nearly 20 states.

Memphis has several transit equity events planned that are available online and free to the public. See below for a list of events and how to register.

Free Transit Equity Day Events in Memphis

BLDG Memphis Virtual Pizza with Planners
Demystifying Transit Funding
Tuesday, Feb. 1 • 5:30–7 p.m.
Online Only
Registration Required
This town hall event will break down how transit is funded at the local, state, and federal level and will discuss local initiatives we can support to increase resources for Memphis. Moderated by Sheila Williams and featuring speakers from MATA, the Bus Riders Union, Memphis 3.0, and MICAH.

Rhodes College Memphis Mobility Symposium: Day 1
Health and Community Well-Being
Thursday, Feb. 3 • 6–8 p.m.
In-person or Online
Registration Required
Public lecture and interactive activity designed to start constructive conversations and encourage rethinking how we create sustainable, equitable transportation for all.

Rhodes College Memphis Mobility Symposium: Day 2
Better Transit for a Better Memphis
Friday, Feb. 4 • 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
In-person or Online
Registration Required
A series of sessions that will examine current trends and discuss research, strategies, and best practices. Featuring a motorized scooter demo and interactive bike ride.

MICAH and Sierra Club Community Forum
Better Transit for a Better Memphis
Friday, Feb. 4 • 2:30–4 p.m.
Online Only
Registration Required
Join with other folks committed to public transportation to hear the latest from MATA and its consultant, Innovate Memphis. The larger our attendance and our show of support, the greater impact on city and county decision-makers. Learn what you can do to push the agenda forward.

Community collaborators for Transit Equity Day in Memphis include BLDG Memphis, Center for Transforming Communities, Church Health, Climate Reality Project, Commute Options, Explore Bike Share, Memphis Area Transit Authority, Memphis Bus Riders Union, Memphis Center for Independent Living, Memphis Interfaith Coalition for Action and Hope, My City Rides, Sierra Club Chickasaw Group, and The University of Memphis.
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Read more articles by Sarah Rushakoff.

Sarah Rushakoff was raised in Memphis and is a graduate of White Station High School and the University of Memphis. She is a longtime member of Our Own Voice Theatre Troupe and works professionally as a graphic designer, writer, and photographer.