NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The new month will bring more options for WeGo Public Transit riders, affecting bus and train routes across Davidson County.
The changes are in response both to requests from riders and increasing demand as Nashville's public transit group works to bounce back from the pandemic.
At the peak, WeGo saw ridership drop by 60%. And staff report overall ridership remains down around 30% from pre-pandemic levels.
But WeGo Scheduling and Service Planning Manager Katie Freudberg says many major corridors didn't see as big of a dip as other routes, with some currently operating around 10% below normal. And in its latest service change, WeGo will increase frequency and number of buses on many of those routes.
Perhaps the biggest change riders will notice is expanded service hours.
Monday through Saturday, nine routes will run until 12:15 in the morning. That's later than even before the pandemic.
Monday-Saturday service from 5:15 a.m. to 12:15 a.m:
- 3 West End/White Bridge
- 23 Dickerson Pike
- 56 Gallatin Pike
- 4 Shelby
- 50 Charlotte Pike Access
- 7 Hillsboro
- 52 Nolensville Pike
- 22 Bordeaux
- 55 Murfreesboro Pike
"The service industry is really where we were hearing from people the most, that people need that later night service," said Freudberg, "that buses leaving at 11:15 on weekdays and earlier on weekends just isn’t compatible with a lot of schedules."
The WeGo Star Train will revert back to three round trips during peak morning and afternoon hours, as well.
Freudberg says expanding hours and frequency on many routes may help contribute to restoring some of those ridership numbers.
"If there's anything we've learned over the past year or so it's trying not to predict whats going to happen next," she said, "but having that [time] span there when people are ready to go back to work, back to going out at night, back to regular school schedules... having that in place will help us to be in position for people to see [transit] as a viable option."
Overall, as traffic and parking become a problem once again, she suggests slowly integrating public transit into your routine. You may find it's more convenient than you realize.
"Think about times when it might actually be easier [than driving]," she said, "if you're going downtown and don’t have to deal with parking. When we take the kids downtown we never drive, we take the bus where we don’t have to drive with them screaming in the back seat for 20 minutes," she laughed.
"We get off the bus and walk to where we're going."
Changes start on Sunday, October 3. You can check how your route will be affected on WeGo's website or using the Transit App.
To keep up with demand, WeGo is currently hiring additional bus operators, with an increased starting pay of $22 per hour, plus a sign-on bonus. No previous training is required. Candidates need to be at least 21 years of age with a high school diploma or GED.