The Star, which trundles into downtown from the east, has never met initial ridership goals. Transit consultant Jeff Slater, who’s helping craft the new “nMotion” 25-year plan, says the train needs to run more often.
“What we’re looking to do is take that to seven-day-a-week, all-day service. Right now the service is really limited. It’s really peak-period only,” he said. “[The goal] is to make it into a real service that people can use all day long in both directions.”
When Slater says “peak period” he means the train only runs from Lebanon, Mt. Juliet and Donelson during the morning and afternoon rush hours.
The proposal also calls for service to a new station at Hamilton Springs (featured here by WPLN) and an extension to a station at the Wilson County Expo Center. (The Star runs to a temporary station at the Wilson County Fair at the end of August.)
That’s the level of commitment that rail enthusiast Brian McDonnell has hoped for.
“I definitely think it’s got potential, as long as it can be operated the right way. And we are sort of hoping that with this plan going into place, that we can see what it can really do,” he said.
The upgrade will require more train cars and new parallel tracks to serve as passing lanes.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority also plans to funnel more riders toward the train. They’d do that by making the Donelson station one stop on more frequent bus routes from Opryland and the Nashville International Airport.