On Friday, the Memphis Area Transit Authority will publish the full details of the report on the health and safety of the city’s trolleys.
Ron Garrison, the new MATA president, said the disclosure of the report comes after he had discussions about the trolleys Thursday with the Federal Transit Authority and the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
MATA suspended trolley service back in June after two trolleys caught fire in six months. Green MATA buses have replaced the trolleys since then.
The organization commissioned the report from the American Public Transportation Association. The report was received here in August. It was one step in getting the trolleys back online.
Garrison told members of the Downtown Memphis Commission Thursday that MATA is aiming to get a nationally known rail safety team to Memphis early next month to begin an independent review of the cars and the system.
“We’ve done that ourselves but this is the next stage and we want to take it a step further,” Garrison said.
Once that review is complete, he said, “we can say this is what the plans looks like, what the roll out looks like.
When asked if the trolleys would come back at all, Garrison said,
“That is my ultimate goal. Number one, I love trolleys. I rode them all the time when I was a kid in St. Louis. Another thing is, trolleys are one of the instruments that helped the vendors bring life back to Downtown. So, (bringing the trolleys back) is ultimately my goal but we have to do it safe. So, yeah. Oh, yeah. Also, we’ll be working with our funding partners to see if we can do it in the future in an even bigger way.”
An update on trolley service from MATA on Wednesday said the initial focus on “on five
trolleys for in-depth inspection, repair, and certification to get back in service is now expanded to as many as seven trolleys.”