Transit Alliance raises funds to bring awareness and appreciation to Franklin Transit Bus Operators, maintenance, and custodial staff for continued public service during COVID-19


The Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee (TAMT) raises funds in order to bring awareness and appreciation to Franklin Transit bus operators, maintenance, and custodial staff for their continued efforts to keep the city connected during COVID-19.

To fund this effort, the organization created a Facebook fundraiser which began on Friday, May 8, 2020, to raise at least $500 to purchase 40 lunches from Puckett’s for the frontline staff of Franklin Transit. In one week, the community came together to fund the full cost of purchasing the lunches to show appreciation for the bus operators, maintenance, and custodial staff. Franklin Transit operators receive their catered lunches on Wednesday, May 20th.

“Bus operators are the face of the transportation system,” said Jim Schmitz, Chairman for the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee. “They cheerfully greet riders and go about an underappreciated job keeping those riders safe and on their way. This is an opportunity to show that we appreciate what they do every day and especially now when they’d likely rather be safe at home.”

“Though COVID-19 has required changes in our daily lifestyles, some things have remained the same,” said Rogers Anderson-Mayor, Williamson County. “One of them is the need to provide transportation for our citizens who do not have their own vehicle.  The public transit operators, drivers and employees provide a much-needed service for those needing trips to get groceries, prescriptions and attend medical visits. Please join me in expressing my sincere appreciation to all those who have continued to provide this valuable service for our residents during these unprecedented times.”

“Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee is an important part of solving our transportation challenges,” said Ken Moore, Mayor for the City of Franklin. “Their recognition of our FTA workers is a testament to the importance of working together to solve the problem.”

“During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Franklin Transit service has continued to operate, providing much needed necessary trips such as getting to working, going to medical appointments, and access to supplies and food,”  said Debbie Henry, President and CEO for TMA Group. “Each day the Franklin Transit Team have executed with great care and responsibility the additional and necessary tasks of disinfecting and sanitizing our equipment and buildings. I respect and applaud our transit drivers and operational team for their shared commitment in taking care of our customers and community; their ‘can-do’ attitude is phenomenal.”

“It’s always a good day to show someone they matter, especially during challenging times, so coordinating the effort to bring lunches to the bus operators, maintenance, and custodial staff at Franklin Transit was our way to do that,” said Jessica Dauphin, President and CEO for the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee. “Especially after our successful effort to do the same for WeGo Public Transit frontline staff in April. Not only is this a true grassroots effort as funding comes direct from community member contributions, it is an incredible experience to see the immediate and positive response. We are proud to bring people together in this way, to show support to those on the frontline. The local transit agency, Franklin Transit, continues to work diligently to provide safe and reliable transportation services to those who need it. Transportation service is requisite to a fully functioning society, therefore it is an asset, and we want to value it as such. There is also an added benefit in that we get to support Puckett’s, a local favorite, during this economic slowdown.”

“So much support is given to other essential workforce sectors. I felt it was time to shine a light on those who are literally keeping our city operating as normal as possible during this highly abnormal situation of COVID-19,” Dauphin said. “Many of the current riders are essential employees, too. Imagine if they couldn’t get to work. Franklin Transit bus operators are helping prevent a significant collapse of the city’s basic functioning. That deserves some appreciation.”

The Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee is a local 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to build support for funding regional transit. TAMT leads the effort made up of public and private sector leaders in the ten counties of Middle Tennessee, fostering collaboration across cities, counties, and business to proactively improve regional mass transportation options that are attractive for businesses and industry, support greater equity between neighborhoods, and that support overall enhanced quality of life of the region. Learn more at