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MAX transit announces changes as The World Games 2022 nears

Frank T. Martin, Executive Director/CEO of the BJCTA, provided updates during a Monday press conference. (Haley Wilso, The Birmingham Times)

By Haley Wilson

The Birmingham Times

For the first time in 40 years, every transit route covered by the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority (BJCTA) will get a thorough review with the goal of making improvements regarding frequencies and the distance between vehicles, said Frank T. Martin, Executive Director/CEO of the BJCTA.

On Monday, Martin provided updates on the agency that included strategic initiatives, staffing challenging and a series of public information meetings.

It’s all part of a Comprehensive Operational Analysis (COA) underway one year ahead of The World Games 2022 which will be held July 7-July 17, 2022 in Birmingham.

“[We will be] taking a deep dive into our existing route structure to make sure that the services we’re providing is meeting those in the community,” said Martin. “Many of the routes today have been operating for over 40 years and [there has] not been a lot of changes made to a number of the routes. Yes, we did make some changes in the fall of 2019. As a result of making adjustments based on funding, but we wanted to take a deeper dive” this time around.

Martin said changes to the routes will take effect in three phases: September 2021, January 22, 2022, and May 22, 2022.

Those changes will be discussed during a series of public information meetings hosted by MAX starting July 12 through July 22 which will take place in a variety of locations throughout the Birmingham-Jefferson County region (See listings below).

Martin said BJCTA began operating at full seating capacity on July 6 after it had been reduced to 50 percent during the pandemic.

“It’s time to relax that [ COVID restriction] and to move forward with getting back to normal as best as we can,” said Martin. “However, we will still require that our passengers where a mask. That is a federal requirement, and that requirement will be in place, at least until mid-September.”

If passengers need masks, Martin says customer service representatives will provide them.

In addition to route changes, an introduction to micro transit will be made. The city of Birmingham launched the microtransit, or demand-responsive transportation, service pilot program in December 2019, and it has become very popular with riders.

“Microtransit concept has been working with the City of Birmingham in the last couple of years”, said Martin… “There may be certain areas where we may have low density, or we have low ridership. …Micro transit is something that a number of operating transit authorities around the country are beginning to embrace.”

He added that some operators see competition between micro transit and fixed routes. “I do not think that,” he said. “I think that micro transit provides an option. Micro transit and fixed route transit can operate collectively together in the same system. And at the end of the day, it’s how can we provide transportation options to meet the needs of our citizens. So, it could be a combination of services.”

Another key initiative is Birmingham Express (BX) which will connect 25 neighborhoods to opportunities and vital service along its corridor.

The BX will travel along a 10-mile corridor from Woodlawn Transit Center on 1st Avenue between 56th and 57th street to the CrossPlex Transit Center at the Intersection of Avenue W and 47th street Ensley. There will be a total of 32 stops.

“We all know the world games are coming in 2022, said Martin. “The Birmingham Express- the BRT system that’s currently under construction- will be coming online, late May, early June, just before the opening of the games in July of 2022.”

“I think that’s going to be a game changer for the areas because it will provide express service from the Woodlawn area all the way out to the CrossPlex….15-minute service during the peak period and is 30 minutes during the off peak. That would be express service that will be provided and will have major adjustment with our fixed route system.”

Martin also spoke about:

Customer and Community Satisfaction Surveys:

“It is very important that we understand what our customers think about the level of service,” said Martin. “We need to know specifically what they think about that service, because it helps us to tailor our services better, it helps us to know what they’re thinking. Not sure the last time that a satisfaction survey was conducted, but it really gave us great information in terms of what the customer thinks about the level and the quality of service. This is not only for our fixed route buses but also for our paratransit system as well.”

Staffing Challenges:

“It should come as no surprise that almost every institute currently is having problems hiring workers,” he said. “You hear it on the news. Almost every sector of our economy is currently having problems in terms of staffing levels. We are as well”. . . So, if you know of anyone out there that is interested in working for the Birmingham Transit Authority, we are open for business, we are looking for workers.”

Job listings can be found at www.maxtransit.org and social media handles-including LinkedIn.


Public information meetings

Midfield City Hall

725 Bessemer Road

Midfield, Al 35228



10:00 am- 11:00 am
Homewood Homewood Library

1721 Oxmoor Road

Homewood, Al 35209



5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Fairfield City Hall

4701 Gary Avenue

Fairfield, Al 35064



11:00 am- 12:00 pm
Vestavia Hills City Hall

1032 Montgomery Hwy Vestavia Hills, Al 35216



4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Mountain Brook City Hall

56 Church Street Mountain Brook, Al 35213



4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Center Point City Hall

2209 Center Point Pkwy Road Center Point, Al 35215



5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Hoover City Hall

100 Municipal Lane

Hoover, Al 35216



5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Bessemer City Hall

1700 3rd Avenue North Bessemer, Al 35020



5:30 pm – 6:30 pm