State, Metro Reach Deal to Continue Transit Services for State Employees
State Expands Program to Include Work Trips on Music City Star
NASHVILLE – State employees who work in the Metro Nashville area will be able to continue riding public transit to and from work at no cost under a new agreement reached between the Metropolitan Transit Authority, Regional Transportation Authority, Tennessee Department of Transportation and Department of General Services. In addition, employees who live east of Nashville will now be able to take the Music City Star to work at no cost beginning July 1, 2009.
“TDOT is a big supporter of public transit across the state and we are pleased to be able to work with MTA and General Services not only to continue the program but also to expand the service to include Nashville’s only passenger rail service, the Music City Star,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “The EasyRide Program helps reduce congestion on our highways and improve air quality in the Nashville area, and provides a great benefit to thousands of state employees.”
The state’s participation in the program will continue through at least June 2010. The service will be available for work trips only. Employees who currently participate in the program and have a Swipe and Ride card should notice no change in service and may continue using their current cards.
“We are pleased the State of Tennessee will continue to participate in the MTA EasyRide commuter program," said Paul J. Ballard, CEO of the Nashville MTA. “Investing in public transit makes sense from both an environmental and economic perspective. I’m pleased we could work with the state to continue providing this valuable service to their employees.”
TDOT worked with the Department of General Services and MTA to renegotiate the current contract and assume management of the program for the next fiscal year. The Dept. of General Services had previously managed the program, and had targeted the program for elimination as a budget reduction measure. During the coming year, the state will continue to look for ways to continue the program and to encourage all employees to consider alternative transportation methods, such as EasyRide, carpooling or vanpooling.
"We're very pleased that TDOT has been able to find a way to fund the program for another year," said Department of General Services Commissioner Gwendolyn S. Davis. "We strongly support the use of transportation alternatives for state workers, and this program is an important part of that effort."
Under the new agreement, the state’s arrangement with MTA will change from a per ride charge to a lump sum contract administered by TDOT. The original contract required the state to pay $1.15 for each ride logged on the “Smart Cards” distributed to state employees. Under the new agreement, the state will pay MTA a lump sum of $500,000, which will save the state approximately $250,000.
Beginning July 1, 2009, state workers who wish to begin utilizing this service can apply for the program by visiting the TDOT’s Smart Commute web page and filling out an application or can pick up an application beginning July 1 from their department’s Human Resources Office. TDOT will coordinate card issuance with MTA.
Nashville MTA route information is available online at or by contacting MTA Customer Care at (615) 862-5950.
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