Lack of Bus and Rail Operators Could Delay MARTA Service Improvements

Dec 18, 2013

As a result of better than expected finances, MARTA for the first time in years is looking to improve wait times for bus and rail riders.

MARTA Chief Operating Officer Rich Krisak says a series of cost-saving measures has freed up money to reduce railway wait times during rush hours from 15 minutes to 10 minutes.

However, Krisak says a lack of trained operators could hold up the process.

“Our biggest issue is the labor component. This semi-skilled labor pool. Everybody - now that the economy is doing well - is all struggling to hire folks at about the same level as we are,” said Krisak.

A job posting for full-time bus operators is online now and MARTA in the coming months plans to hold job fairs to find new bus and rail operators. Krisak says wait times will improve once they’re able to make more hires – something he hopes will happen by spring or summer.

“There’s a tremendous amount of competition. The city’s going through this, the state’s going through this, so it’s really subject to availability of operators,” Krisak.

In the meantime, MARTA this week added two more hours of express evening service to the airport on the North Springs red line. The move coincided with other improvements, including re-opening four station restrooms and reducing wait times on some bus routes.