Guide To Getting Around Memphis Using Public Transportation

Memphis is well-known as a major commercial and transportation hub in the mid-east region of the United States. Its location on the Mississippi River has led to the construction of major highways, bridges, and rail links over time. Memphis is also the second largest cargo port on the Mississippi, and the Memphis International Airport is the largest air freight terminal in the world. With so much hustle and bustle, it’s no wonder that Memphis provides its residents with extensive public transportation options. Though many people use their cars to get around Memphis, their public transport is also something to be marveled.

Relocating to a new city can be overwhelming, and figuring out which routes work and which public transportation routes in Memphis take you away from the city can be confusing. But, you don’t have to go after this information alone. If you’re planning on relocating to Memphis or already live there, our comprehensive guide has everything you need to know about getting around Memphis.

Memphis Public Transit Options | MATA

The good news is that those who are relocating to Memphis have no shortage of public transportation. The Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) provides local public transportation to the Memphis area. MATA is one of the largest transit services in Tennessee, providing extensive bus, paratransit, and trolley services to the city and other areas in Shelby County. They serve an area of over 200 miles and a population of 706,976. They’ve been in business for many years now, and their mission statement is to provide everyone with superior service. MATA is great because it really encompasses nearly all public transportation in Memphis. They provide bus systems, paratransit options, and trolleys. So no matter how you want to get around Memphis, you can do it with MATA. MATA services are as follows:

Memphis Bus System | MATA

One of the main ways people travel through Memphis is by the bus system. Memphis’s bus system offers riders access to 240 buses running along 42 routes across the city. A single adult fare for the MATA bus system is $1.00, and children under the age of five can ride free of charge with an adult. Riders can also opt for FastPasses, which offers daily, weekly, and monthly unlimited rides. There are discounts available for seniors, students, and individuals with disabilities. This is one of the most affordable transportation options in Memphis. The buses are kept clean, the drivers are friendly, and there aren’t too many delays, which is a big issue in other larger cities. However, if they ever do run late, the MATA website also offers real-time updates so riders can time their trips precisely. That way you’ll know whether the Memphis bus is late or on time that day.

Memphis Paratransit System | MATAplus

MATAplus is a shared ride public transportation service that is specially designed to meet the needs of Memphis residents with disabilities that prevent them from using the MATA bus system. MATAplus routes operate during the same hours as the MATA routes, but extend ¾ miles further. Riders can opt for a subscription service to accommodate their travel patterns, or make advanced reservations for individual rides. Base fare for a ride on MATAplus is $3.50, and 21-ride passes are available. This is the best way to get around Memphis for those who have disabilities. However, this isn’t something you can use immediately. New applicants will needto fill out a few-page application and then get approved. The application will need to be filled out by a social worker or someone familiar with the individual’s needs and disabilities. More information on the program is available in this guide.

Getting Around Memphis by Trolley | MATA Trolley System

One exciting way to travel through Memphis is by using their trolley system. Memphis has offered residents trolley service since 1993. MATA currently operates three lines: the Main Street Line, the Riverfront Line, and the Madison Line. The Main Street Line runs every 12 minutes, the Riverfront Line runs every 40 minutes, and the Madison Line runs every 30 minutes. Both the Riverfront and Madison lines run from until 6PM each day while the Main Street Line runs until 12AM except for on Sundays, when it runs until 6PM as well. Base fare for one-way trolley trips are $1.00, and daily, 3-day, and 6-month passes are available. There are discounts for seniors and individuals with disabilities. Daily and 3-day passes can be purchased on the trollies, but all other passes must be purchased at the William Hudson Transit Center.

Other Transit Options in Memphis

Looking for other ways to get around Memphis? Check out what else the city has to offer:

Explore Memphis by Bike | Explore Bike Share

In the past, Memphis was not considered a very bikeable city. However, efforts are being made to improve the city’s infrastructure to better accommodate cyclers. Memphis is home to Explore Bike Share, a non-profit organization with 80 pick-up/drop-off locations around the city. Memberships can be purchased through the BCycle app, some station kiosks, or online. Options include 2 hour passes, and weekly, monthly, and yearly plans.

A Guided Tour of Memphis | Memphis Hop

Want to explore Memphis and all its art, music, and restaurants? Memphis Hop is a great way for visitors and new residents to get their bearings. This bus loop operates Wednesday through Sunday from 10am – 5:30pm, and riders can get on and off at any stop they choose. Tickets are $30 for riders 13+ and $20 for children 4-12.

Memphis by Car

Memphis is considered a car-dependent city, so many tourists choose car services to get around. Many cabs can be found in the Beale Street area, and Uber and Lyft are also popular options.

Memphis Public Transportation to Top Destinations

Here is how to get around Memphis using public transportation:

Memphis Public Transportation FAQs

  • What public transportation is available in Memphis?
    • Memphis provides visitors and residents with its MATA bus system, 3 trolley routes, and MATAplus program for individuals with qualifying disabilities.
  • Do you need a car to get around Memphis?
    • Though Memphis offers several public transportation options, most residents choose to navigate the city with personal vehicles. Most Memphis residents have 1-2 cars.
  • How much is a monthly MATA pass in Memphis?
    • A 31-day FastPass for the MATA bus system is $50.00 for adults, $40.00 for students, and $25.00 for seniors and individuals with disabilities. Click here to see if you qualify for discounted MATA fares.

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