WeGo bus station renamed after Nashville’s first Black female bus driver

“She drove at a time where there weren’t even restrooms for women drivers,” her husband said.
Published: Nov. 2, 2023 at 1:33 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – The Nashville community joined together Thursday to celebrate the renaming of a WeGo transit facility in honor of a trailblazer in Nashville’s desegregation history.

WeGo Public Transit staff, community members and lawmakers joined the family of Elizabeth Duff for a renaming ceremony to officially commemorate the Elizabeth Duff Transit Center at the WeGo Central bus station. Duff was the first woman and first Black bus operator in Nashville when she was hired by the Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority in April 1974, WeGo said in a media release.

New signage and renderings of future historical displays were unveiled during the ceremony, according to the release.

Elizabeth Duff, the first female Black bus driver in Nashville, was honored Thursday morning....
Elizabeth Duff, the first female Black bus driver in Nashville, was honored Thursday morning. The WeGo Central bus station was named after her.(WeGo)

“Elizabeth was a pioneer, born and raised here in Nashville,” Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell said in a media release. “To the Duff family, I am here to say thank you for continuing this legacy. Her son, Seneca, is a bus operator at WeGo and here today.”

“Elizabeth was strong, and she was a person who wasn’t confrontational,” her husband Harry Duff Sr. added. “She always tried to avoid conflict on the bus. She drove at a time when there weren’t even restrooms for women drivers.”

The Metro Nashville City Council unanimously approved an ordinance in July 2022 to make the name change. Duff died on February 13, 2021; she was 72.

“We are proud to rename WeGo Central in honor of Elizabeth Duff, who stood against the challenges of her time while making an incredible impact in our community,” Nashville MTA Chair Gail Carr Williams said.

“Our bus operators are the key to our service and Elizabeth exemplified excellence in her work,” WeGo CEO Steve Bland said. “She was truly a transit trailblazer in Nashville.”

Elizabeth Duff Transit Center
Elizabeth Duff Transit Center(WeGo)