Pilot project for bus to downtown Nashville concludes today, RTA to evaluate rider data

The two-week pilot test of bus service from Dickson to downtown Nashville concludes today and the Regional Transportation Authority of Middle Tennessee says it will take at look at the numbers to determine whether to add a permanent route. According to data from RTA, the first week of the daily bus service from the Wal-Mart parking lot to Music City Central in downtown Nashville averaged more than 66 passenger trips per day combining morning and afternoon runs. Thursday was the peak day of the first week with 43 riders on the 56-passenger bus that morning. Gray Line of Tennessee contracted with RTA to provide the bus equipped with televisions, wireless Internet access and restrooms for the free morning and afternoon commutes for the two-week period that ends today. For the test period, the bus departed Dickson at 6:40 am arriving in Nashville by 7:40, then made the return trip at 4:38 pm with arrival in Dickson by 5:40. Based on surveys of the riders during the two-week period and input from other people interested in riding the bus, RTA will determine whether there is enough support for a permanent route and, if so, adjust the schedule of departures to meet the needs of the majority of potential riders expressing an interest. Anyone who wants to learn more about the regional transportation system can visit rtarelaxandride.com or call 862-5950. Area residents who were unable to participate in the pilot program but interested in a permanent route depending on service times can notify Dickson County Mayor Bob Rial, who serves on the RTA board, by email at bobrial@dicksoncountytn.gov or by calling 789-7000. RTA has not announced a timeline for a decision about creating a permanent route but grant funds have been made available for the possible creation of a permanent Park and Ride facility in Dickson.