For 15 years, Franklin Transit Authority has been making residents’ lives easier by providing a way to get to work, the grocery store, doctor’s office, social engagements or anywhere in between. Also as Franklin grows, FTA provides a fixed solution to at least some of the traffic congestion issues in Franklin.

On Thursday, Franklin Transit Authority will celebrate 15 years of providing public transportation services to Franklin. As part of the celebration, the community is invited to enjoy a day of free rides all day on the Franklin Transit Fixed Routes. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Franklin Transit Center Hub at 708 Columbia Avenue, the celebration continues.

“We want to thank our riders, stakeholders, and the community for their support throughout these fifteen years,” said Dale Thomas, Franklin Transit Authority chairman.

“During this time, the Franklin Transit service has grown in sync with the city’s growth. Additionally, special thanks goes to our professional team of transit drivers and our management team for their daily expertise.”

In the summer of 2003, FTA launched the service with just three trolleys. 

Currently, Franklin Transit operates a fleet of 13 ADA-compliant vehicles. During the fifteen years, the service has experienced various route revisions with the most recent extensive revision increasing the stops to 100+, new routes, faster service, reduction of travel time by half, and expanding into the Cool Springs area.

A sense of community 

“The changes made with the recent expansion have been very positive,” said Debbie Henry, TMA Group executive director.

“Our riders are definitely enjoying the reduce 30-minute headways, increased frequency of service along the routes, the service area in Cool Springs, new stops near places of employment and services, as well as moving the Transit Hub to 708 Columbia Ave. complete with indoor amenities where they can relax, grab a soft drink and visit with staff while waiting on their bus. 

Henry said the new hub creates a sense of community and the expansion sets the stage to serve more passengers in years to come. 

“All of these changes have reinforced a sense of community with our passengers and transit team,” she said. “We are also excited to be working closely with Columbia State Community College in educating the students and staff about using Franklin Transit to get and from the campus.”

Traffic studies

identify solutions

Williamson Inc. held its annual Transportation Summit just this week in which rail was discussed as a possibility to relieve urban areas of traffic congestion in the region and locally in Franklin. 

In 2014-15, TMA conducted the Cool Springs Multimodal Transportation Network Study, which proposes the need for light rail in the Cool Springs area in the next 20 years. Currently the Metropolitan Planning Organization is conducting a transportation study of the Southern Corridor, which will provide even more information to plan for the future. 

“I am excited about the Southern Corridor Study that is getting underway for our area,” Henry said. 

“Conducted by the MPO, the results of the study should define upcoming planning and projects for our area. Light rail maybe one of several options identified to benefit our region. There is never one ‘magic bullet’ to solve the transportation issue. A successful region has many options, such as local transit, regional vanpooling and ridesharing, sidewalks for walking and biking, all of which connect to a light rail system.”

Henry said the FTA service will continue impacting the community for years to come.

 “As Franklin grows, so does our public transit service,” Henry said. “This expansion is impactful because of the changing and increased pattern of growth and the need for better availability and service for our riders, businesses, and employees coupled with better routes and increased frequency should encourage more people in our community to utilize the service and reduce the number of vehicles on our local roads.”

National Dump the Pump Day

“In addition to celebrating our 15th milestone, Franklin Transit is also celebrating National Dump the Pump Day on Thursday, June 21, which is a great opportunity to thank current riders and attract new ones,” Henry added.

“Celebrated by public transportation systems nationwide, this annual event highlights the value and benefits of public transit.”

The Franklin Transit Authority contracts with The TMA Group to operate and manage the service. The TMA Group, headquartered in Franklin, is a regional leader in customizing innovative, multimodal transportation solutions for employers and communities. 

For more information on services, visit the website at www.franklintransit.org or call the Franklin Transit Authority at 615-628-0260. 

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