Driving is the most popular and easiest way to get around Memphis. Downtown parking is plentiful if you are prepared to pay; an all-day pass in one of the many downtown parking garages costs about $10. Traffic congestion peaks, predictably, at rush hours and is worst in the eastern parts of the city and along the interstates.
The Memphis Area Transit Authority (901/274-6282, www.matatransit.com) operates dozens of buses that travel through the greater Memphis area. For information on routes, call or stop by the North End Terminal on North Main Street for help planning your trip. The bus system is not used frequently by tourists.
Public trolleys run for about two miles along Main Street in Memphis from the Pinch district in the north to Central Station in the south, and circle up on a parallel route along Riverfront Drive. Another trolley line runs about two miles east on Madison Avenue, connecting the city’s medical center with downtown. The Main Street trolleys run every 10 minutes at most times, but the Madison Avenue trolleys run less often on weekends and evenings after 6 p.m.
Fares are $1 per ride, or 50 cents between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. You can buy an all-day pass for $3.50, a three-day pass for $8, or a month-long pass for $25. All passes must be purchased at the North End Terminal at the northern end of the Main Street route.
Sun Studio runs a free shuttle between Sun Studio, the Rock ’n’ Soul Museum at Beale Street, and Graceland. The shuttle is a 12-passenger black van painted with the Sun Studio logo. The ride is free, but it’s nice to tip your driver. Call 901/521-0664 for more information.
Memphis has a number of taxi companies, and you will usually find available cabs along Beale Street and waiting at the airport. Otherwise, you will need to call for a taxi. Some of the largest companies are Yellow Cab (901/577-7777), City Wide Cab (901/722-8294), and Arrow Transportation Company (901/332-7769).
Expect to pay between $25 and $30 for a trip from the airport to downtown; most fares around town are under $10.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Tennessee, 5th Edition