Editor’s Note: “Fixed That For You” is a new series in which we pick a problem around town and dream up some ideas for fixing it. What better place to start than, well, transit? Feel free to leave your own ideas in the comments below.
The problem: Built almost 10 years ago in 2008, the downtown bus terminal has already seen better days. With up to 17,000 passengers coming in and out of the MCC, it trails only behind the Nashville International Airport in terms of commuter traffic. Unlike BNA, there haven’t been significant updates to the terminal since it was built, except a bathroom renovation that only happened after the bathrooms had gotten so bad that they became an internet meme.
How we’d fix it: If we at Nashvillest ran the world, here are a handful of things we think would make the rider experience at MCC more pleasant.
- Fix the overhead lighting – The florescent lights are dim and many just don’t work. Replacing these with brighter and more energy-efficient LED fixtures would go a long way in making MCC safer and happier.
- Use ticket kiosks that work – The odds you are going to find one of the ticket kiosks in working order are about as high as the Titans making the playoffs: possible, but let’s not get carried way. Replace these with more reliable machines. While we’re at it, sell fare cards at more places than just the MCC. It works in Chicago, so why not here?
- Re-renovate the bathrooms – The renovations mentioned above have gone a long way towards making the bathrooms seem less like they belong in a state penitentiary. Still, even the abandoned Greer Stadium’s bathrooms are more pleasant than these.
- Make the bay numbers less confusing – Bus routes and bus bays being in the same numbering range can be confusing for a first-time rider. Consider turning Bay 1 to Bay 100 or using a separate lettering system to make this more user-friendly.
- Put up better signage – There are a handful of way-markers on poles around the station that can be easy to miss. A better idea would be to put lit overhead signs directing passengers to restrooms, Customer Care, etc.
- Talk to your passengers – Announcing system delays, the occasional George Strait “welcome to Nashville,” the local time, etc. over loudspeakers would keep folks informed throughout the terminal. Some low-volume elevator music wouldn’t hurt either.
- Get some heaters – The terminal has two waiting rooms (one on each floor) that are climate controlled, but nothing at the individual bus bays. It gets cold in there!
- Put a bird on it – Look, I get it: MCC is a utilitarian, purpose-built building for funneling large vehicles around the city. I know there are some concerns about vandalism, but an art installation on each floor would add some character, give folks a reason to visit who aren’t catching a bus, and support Nashville’s ever-growing quest to highlight local artists.