COLLIERVILLE, TN— Can't drive and depend on MATA to get to Tiger games? Then you're out of luck. The Memphis Area Transit Authority shut down all shuttles to Tiger and Grizzlies games for people living in Whitehaven and Collierville and those fans are outraged. MATA told ABC24 News it had to be done because of a $1 million dollar budget deficit but residents are not buying it.
Orion Maxwell of Collierville is a huge Tigers fan.
"We're like family, we got use to everybody," Maxwell said as he describes his trips on the bus.
Riding the bus from Collierville to the games has been a 7 year tradition for Maxwell until now.
"It's just not fair. I mean if they can go to all the other locations and pick up all those people for games they can come to Collierville,” he said.
MATA says those shuttles weren't the only things affected while tightening the budget.
"It's unfortunate that we had to make a decision,” said MATA spokeswoman Alison Burton. “We never like to reduce services but we had to cut service for people going to work, for people going to school, for people going to medical appointments, and I'm talking thousands of people were impacted by those changes."
Maxwell and others don't understand MATA's logic. Fares went up $5 to $8 this year and they say the shuttles were almost always full.
"Just say 60 people ride the bus, at $8 a pop that's $480 and there's more people waiting to ride the bus. So how can they be losing money?"
"It was a surprise to me,” said another Collierville resident Terry Rhea. “I’m not happy about it because during basketball season the parking downtown is just as tough at best. In this area the bus is packed and there are more people waiting to get on."
Not only that but the elderly also depend on the bus.
"We got people that live in this community that's not able to drive. They're in their 80's, they're not able to drive that far,” stated Maxwell.
MATA says what's done is done and nothing will change.
"We want them to change their mind but if we have to hire an attorney I think we will,” Maxwell told abc24 news.
For Maxwell, it's not just a bus ride it's a way to spend time with friends while supporting his Tiger family.
"We got a great coach and he's trying to build us a championship and we want to be part of it."
MATA says Collierville residents can drive about 10 miles west to Germantown for another pick up location.