NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - In the Parkwood subdivision, riding the bus is a must for so many residents.
It’s why 66-year-old Regina Smith was shocked when she noticed officials removing bus signs earlier this month.
“When I rode around the subdivision, I’m like OK, what’s going on?” Smith said.
She called WeGo Public Transit and found out the route within the Parkwood neighborhood subdivision had been redirected.
“When I was actually a bus rider for many years when I was with NES, that morning bus at 5:30 was packed, standing room only,” Smith said. “Coming back in the evening it was also standing room only.”
“I can’t believe they took Parkwood,” Phyllis Kinnard, who lives on Brick Church Pike, said.
Kinnard knows so many working class, essential workers and students who relied on Route 23 all the time.
“When the kids ride it, they have to have a double-dutch bus, and most of the kids are from high school all the way down to elementary school, riding the buses to the different magnet schools,” Kinnard said.
Neighbors said before they would get picked up and dropped off in the Parkwood neighborhood, but now they have to go at least a mile down the road, and they said that’s very problematic.
News4 reached out to WeGo Public Transit to find out what happened.
Alina Hunter-Grah, Customer Experience Coordinator for WeGo Public Transit, provided a statement about the changes:
“On April 11, we enacted a set of changes to our service that increased it from 78% to 90% of pre-pandemic levels. This set of changes largely resulted in increased trip frequency, longer service hours and streamlined routing. Route 23 Dickerson Road saw all three with a 75% increase in weekday service hours.
“By streamlining this route, the majority of riders in that area now have more direct travel and more frequent service. The eliminated portion of the route had about 15 boarding per day, with most of them 1,500 feet or less from their new stops.
“In response to feedback, we’re planning to add a stop at Doverside and Oakview and are open to adding or moving additional stops that might serve to improve access for these customers, if appropriate.
“Prior to the changes, we posted notices on social media, our website and at bus bays and notice boards at WeGo Central to give our riders opportunities to contact us with any concerns. We also conducted 40 hours of customer engagement at Central and onboard two most impacted routes, which included 23 Dickerson Road, and held three virtual public meetings.
“We understand the changes may put some riders at a larger inconvenience than others, and we always encourage those riders to reach out to us.”
Kinnard and Smith are worried about the people who are not on social media, that can’t easily drive down the road or catch a ride to the bus stop. They see people still waiting for the bus and Smith often offers to take them to their destination because she has a car.
“A lot of people, the majority of people here, actually uses that public transportation. So, if you’re taking that away from them, OK, you’re leaving them to walk or either call an Uber or a taxi cab, it’s for the public,” Smith said.
“They need to put that route back on there,” Kinnard said. “However long, just like you took it, you need to put it back on there.”