By Monique Jones
The Birmingham Times
The Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority (BJCTA), in partnership with Birmingham Coca-Cola, on Friday unveiled a new Magic City Connector route that highlights some of the city’s tourist attractions.
The connector will run along 20th Street from the Uptown District to the Southside and connect riders to the McWane Science Center, Vulcan Park, the Birmingham Zoo, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and the Birmingham, Jefferson Convention Complex, as well as the Lakeview District and Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
“…When [tourists] come to our city, we want to make sure they have the opportunity to really see the best that our city has to offer,” said Mayor William Bell. “Because of the partnership that has been formed here today…we now have a way to get those visitors to the sights, but more importantly, people who actually live here in Birmingham [can as well].”
Barbara Murdock, BJCTA Executive Director, said, “We are so pleased to announce that Coca-Cola is our partner in this venture. [T]his partnership between BJCTA and Coke will pave the future for many more joint ventures.”
Bo Taylor, Vice President of the Central Region of Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, said, “We think that the [BJCTA] is going to make a difference in people’s lives…We want to help the citizens of Birmingham in any way that we can[.]”
The Ramsay High School band performed as a fleet of six MAX buses, wrapped in sleeves featuring Birmingham’s tourist attractions, rode along Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd.
The connector is also a part of the BJCTA’s Road Map 2021 initiative, which includes outfitting Birmingham’s mass transit system with new technology, building community transit centers, creating an improved transit development plan.
The goal to have Birmingham’s mass transit infrastructure updated by 2021 falls in line with the 2021 World Games, which the city will host.
“…It will help make this a destination place as we look forward to 2021, when we have the World Games,” said Bell. “People will be coming here from all around the world, and this is a great start to prepare our city to welcome those visitors to come here to see our great southern city that we love.”
Also in attendance were BJCTA Board Chairman Patrick Sellers, Birmingham City Council President Johnathan Austin, Birmingham City Council President Pro Tempore Steven Hoyt, and councilmembers Sheila Tyson and Jay Roberson.
Magic City Connector buses will run every 10 minutes from 10 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Friday and every 20 minutes Saturday from 10 am to 12 a.m.