The Future of Birmingham's Transit System

Will Birmingham's transit system ever be a complete success?  With ridership down, and a funding shortage from the city, the future looks bleak.  But it's director says in the next year, the system will see a complete turn-around

MAX has seen better days.  With old buses that are often unreliable, ridership isn't growing.  And last week, Birmingham gave the system $5 million, compared to $14 million last year, leaving a $9 million shortfall.  Director William Copling, though, says he feels confident the city will come through.  "The mayor is saying he's having an audit and we are sure we can get the other $9 million allocation that we typically receive," Copling said.

But he says without that money, MAX will shut down.  BJCTA Chairman Guin Robinson says there's one main problem with the system---a lack of state funding for transit.  "You'll have this statewide until we decide in this state if we want to fund transit on a dedicated funding," Robinson said.

But amidst all the negative news, Copling says the future is bright and more positive with 2 main goals in mind: Purchasing new equipment and enhancing the frequency of service.  12 new 32 foot buses will arrive in July of 2010.  12 additional 40 footers are scheduled to arrive later in the year.  Copling hopes the new buses will encourage new riders, and get the system back on track.  "Were gonna do a really aggressive marketing campaign after the holidays to let people know what's happening....but you're gonna see a different transit system and a different level of service"