Members of the City Council met Wednesday to discuss the transit study, among other issues, during an afternoon work session.
Although most said a need for subsidized transportation exists, few felt the study provided the right solutions at the right price, according to several members who were present.
The media was not there, nor were members of the Public Transportation Committee, which had launched the study.
"We want to look for something that will work, but we can't see that what was presented was workable for a variety of reasons," said Ward 5 Councilman Jonny Davis.
Davis referred to the proposed bus system that would run several buses along four routes through the city. It'd cost Tupelo taxpayers an estimated $436,050 annually and provide 62,200 rides its first year.
Not included in that projection were startup costs, actual routes or bus stops.
If the city wants to provide subsidized transit, Davis said, it ought to start with services for the elderly and handicapped.
But Public Transportation Committee Chairman Brad Prewitt said his group had proposed an inexpensive system to serve that population late last year: Northeast Mississippi Community Services would have run a two-bus system in Tupelo for $68,000 annually.
The council had rejected that plan in favor of the comprehensive study, the results of which now appear destined for a shelf.
Council President Fred Pitts said his group will not accept or use the study. He plans to send a letter to the Public Transportation Committee asking its members to explore other options.
But not all council members agree. Nettie Davis of Ward 4 said she strongly supports the study recommendations and thinks the city should move ahead.
"It seems to me it's something that's been pushed back because it's basically the needy - black, white or Hispanic - and the disabled," Davis said. "There doesn't seem to be a deep concern about these people."
Prewitt also expressed disappointment. He said he didn't know about this week's meeting and that, if he had, he would have urged the council to at least seek competitive bids.
"The council should allow the logical conclusion of our ... study, and that is to allow actual pricing to be obtained from vendors and for potential contributions to be accounted for, thereby giving the city an actual price where true budget consideration can occur," Prewitt said. "I would hope the council will allow the committee to finish what was started."
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or firstname.lastname@example.org.