VOL. 110 | NO. 236 | Monday, December 9, 1996
By CAMILLE H
New bus route services
East Memphis office park
By CAMILLE H. GAMBLE
The Daily News
With the unemployment rate remaining below 5 percent in the area for the seventh straight month, area businesses face several issues in hiring and retaining employees, and one of those major issues is transportation.
A new shuttle route starting today should help combat the problem for certain East Memphis businesses and their employees.
Route 88 will run continuously to and from the area of Winchester near the Super K mart store and the Ridgelake Loop area. The shuttle will service employees in the new Sedgwick James Building and the Adamís Mark Hotel, as well as other offices and retail shopping areas.
MATA president and general manager Will Hudson said several new routes have been added in the past few years, including service to the Collierville area.
Tiffany Roberts of MATA said employees of Sedgwick James, the company that spearheaded the effort to get a new route, came to MATA about the problem in June.
ìThatís when we made the first implementation of the route for Nike and about five or six other new routes,î Roberts said. ìAfter that, Sedgwick James realized the possibility, so they came to us.î
Roberts said when a new route is instituted MATA has to wait six months before it is up and running. ìWe canít just make changes tomorrow,î she said.
She said, at this point, the new route is the only one being instituted by MATA. She said other recent requests from employers have not been big enough to support the cost of opening a new route.
Jim Rainer, broker with Commercial Tennessee, said most of the large businesses locating in East Memphis donít view transportation as a major factor, simply because MATA has a reputation for solving the problem.
ìWhat I have observed is that if you have a big enough employer like Sedgwick James and you have a big enough demand, MATA will design a route for you,î Rainer said.
Mike Pera, managing executive of Sedgwick James of Tennessee Inc., said his company was pleased with the responsiveness of MATA.
ìIím not sure to what degree transportation is a problem for employers, but after the experience weíve had, I would encourage employers to poll their employees to try and determine if it is an issue,î Pera said. ìIf it is an issue, it would probably be a good idea to contact MATA.î