MARTA Plans Redefinition Through Bus Service Changes

Jan 7, 2016

MARTA wants to change the way you think about it.

At Thursday's "State of MARTA" address, MARTA General Manager Keith Parker outlined the public transit agency's plans in an event titled "MARTA Redefined." 

One transformation Parker said is long overdue concerns MARTA bus service. 

"There is a decided gap," Parker said, "between people who'll ride our rail system, and who will ride the bus system. We want to eliminate that gap and make everyone a MARTA customer."

To that end, MARTA hopes to create more nimble bus fleets by adding smaller vehicles to move people within neighborhoods and larger busses for special events.

"We’re also going to create connectivity options that reduce the number of transfers," Parker told WABE. "We’re going to make sure our drivers and other customer service people get friendlier and more customer-oriented. So, everything we do about bus service is going to change."

He calls this change "transformational."

Parker also says that in the next 12 to 14 months, riders will be able to buy MARTA tickets on their phones and use WiFi on every bus.

Parker says MARTA will ask state lawmakers for help paying for all these changes and MARTA’s proposed $8 billion rail expansion.

Funding the MARTA expansion could hinge on a one-half to one cent sales tax, which itself depends on Fulton County voters, leaders and state lawmakers coming together in a unified vision for rails and roads.