MARTA: Will you pay more?

It’s not a pretty choice. Pay more for MARTA or sit in traffic congestion with average gas prices of more than $2.50 a gallon.

AJC reporter Ariel Hart reports today that MARTA’s board of directors approved $2 fares starting Oct. 1, up from $1.75. It’s the first increase since 2001.

Also, both trains and buses will run less frequently. But rail service will keep going until 1 a.m. It will not be cut back at midnight, as had been proposed.

What do you think of MARTA’s decision, given its budgetary constraints?

Will you change your commuting habits?

46 comments Add your comment

YOUpayformybadchoices

June 22nd, 2009
3:50 pm

Think its high time the fare was increased. I’d take it a step further, and implement a pay for a far as you ride also, but that would get the bedwetters n homeless outraged. At least my bus route didn’t get cut, oh yeah, I live on the south side of town, NO wonder!!!

Peri

June 22nd, 2009
3:58 pm

As usual, the folks who can LEAST AFFORD the rate hike will be the people who will be most adversely affected and will pay the cost. Despite the rate hike, the buses and trains will STILL be late all the time and overly crowded most of the time, the buses, trains and stations will STILL be smelly and dirty, the stations will STILL be unsafe, and the drivers will STILL be rude and surly. Thanks for nothing, MARTA.

MARTA sucks!

jesse

June 22nd, 2009
4:00 pm

good any one did not loose their jod

Mark

June 22nd, 2009
4:00 pm

The fare increase is not worth it. Considering the average driver in the ATL drives 50 miles per day @ $2.50/ GAL = $5/per day (25 miles/ gal). The $1 savings per day is not worth giving up the convenience of traveling in your own vehicle. Marta is already inefficient and does not meet the needs of the city . This $.25 in greed will ruin the system.

Ben

June 22nd, 2009
4:08 pm

Yeah, I get why they would do this financially but in the end, the numbers just don’t add up to making it worth it.

Nichole

June 22nd, 2009
4:20 pm

I purchase a discounted monthly card through my employer. As long as the cost is less than the our monthly parking plus additional gas expense, I’ll keep riding Marta. It’s convenient and I haven’t had any problems. Definitely less stress than the traffic around here.

Marta Evangelist

June 22nd, 2009
4:21 pm

25 cents is nothing…even the person working a minimum wage job can afford 50 cents more per day. By the way, it is easy to tell which bloggers (Peri) do not ride the system much. During the workweek the trains are almost always right on schedule and so are the buses. I know because I ride both everyday and choose to leave my car parked.

Roxy

June 22nd, 2009
4:22 pm

This is the point where I stop taking MARTA to work and start driving. It’s actually less expensive for me to drive, but wanted to help alleviate traffic and air quality issues by taking the train. Unfortunately, I can no longer afford to do that with a fare increase and will resume driving to work.

Nichole

June 22nd, 2009
4:26 pm

WHO gets 25 miles/gal during city driving? I would pay more to park in our employee lots than I pay for a monthlly Marta Card. Add on the add’l $7 – 10/day in gas, Marta is a no-brainer for me and most of my co-workers. BTW – I don’t expect the trains to look or smell like the Ritz Carlton. I live in the REAL world – not a fantasy land.

Troglodyke

June 22nd, 2009
4:30 pm

I don’t ride MARTA except to the airport for flights once or twice a year, because it is simply not feasible based on the location of my job (I do carpool, though). I think $2 is a pittance to pay to ride pretty much anywhere it goes, and, despite what one poster thinks, the fare increase is not “greed.” It’s a necessary part of doing business. It was either raise the fare, or cut services and/or jobs.

And the benefits of riding are relative, so $2 may very well still beat the costs of owning a car (it’s not just gas prices).

Now, is MARTA inefficient? For some, yes. Does MARTA need lessons on how to manage money better? Yes. It’s a shame that a city of this size doesn’t have a better mass transit system. But in the grand scheme of things, $2 a ride is CHEAP.

Al

June 22nd, 2009
4:31 pm

I live in Dekalb and I use Marta everyday. When I pull into Marta, all you see is on the tags are Newton, Clayton, Gwinnett and etc. Dekalb and Fulton are the only ones paying for the use of the system, so why can’t fares go up for the people living outside of the counties. They are getting a break for nothing.

Peri

June 22nd, 2009
4:34 pm

Marta Evangelist: LOL. I actually happen to take MARTA every single day to my job at Emory. So don’t pretend you know something about me, based on a few sentences posted on an internet blog, okay? Good.

I still say that the rate increase is not worth it. It may NOT cause a huge affect MY finances, per se, but there are plenty of low-income and disabled people who ride MARTA who cannot afford another rate increase by MARTA for the cut rate services they offer.

Have a nice day!

janet

June 22nd, 2009
4:34 pm

2.00 is a bargain to travel anywhere in Metro Atlanta that is served by MARTA. Too bad MARTA is the only rail system serving a metropolitan area that is not funded by the state. Take Metro Atlanta out of Georgia and you don’t have an economic engine to drive the entire state economy.

Rob

June 22nd, 2009
4:35 pm

No, we just need to scrap this horrible system and start over.
Marta tries to compare it’s $2 price to New York but in New York you can get anywhere you want to go.

Just try to get to Buckhead at Peachtree & Piedmont on Marta, or a Braves game from Alpharetta. MARTA is a horrible system.

Why do we need buses running until 1am? How many people are on each bus at 1am?

Marta Evangelist

June 22nd, 2009
4:35 pm

Roxy – I challenge you to post what kind of car you drive, the general area of your home, and the general area of your office. Once you can do that, we can all evaluate together if this extra 50 cents round-trip will make public transportation more expensive than driving. It will be fun!
I understand Atlanta’s transit system does not work for everyone…that is why we need to invest in smart expansion. Its all about choices though…I choose to live in-town and I can take Marta or walk just about everywhere I need to go. I drove less than 3000 miles last year…including a driving trip to Tampa. If you choose to live in Gainesville, you probably got to drive 30,000 miles last year…that is your choice.

scooby

June 22nd, 2009
4:36 pm

If we could get money from Cobb and Gwinnett for the free hook-up to the system, this probably wouldn’t be necessary. MARTA’s real problem is those who don’t pay a dime for upkeep (the state and non-paying Metro counties).

Democrat Girl

June 22nd, 2009
4:39 pm

I ride MARTA 3-5 days a week,too. While I don’t expect it to “smell like the Ritz Carlton,” it could definately be cleaner. I have ridden the metro in several European cities and none are as unkempt as MARTA. So what does 25 cents more get the average rider? More dirty and late buses and trains. I agree with the poster who said that MARTA could do better.

To save money and wear and tear on my vehicle, I will continue to ride MARTA, though, and just suck it up.

Marta Evangelist

June 22nd, 2009
4:45 pm

Peri – I guess the drivers down at Emory are different from the ones I usually see on the northside…I usually get a smile or at least a nod. I’d be curious as to why you think the stations are unsafe…I use the system at all hours of the day and haven’t had a problem worse than loud music or someone asking for change.

Rob – I guess you are being serious?? Peachtree and Piedmont is one third of a mile from the Buckhead station. If that is too far two bus routes come (every 12 minutes during peak times) and would get you there in less than a minute.

Javahna

June 22nd, 2009
4:45 pm

Plenty of people ride MARTA at 1 am, Rob — or WOULD if MARTA ran all night like public transportation in MOST international cities. Believe it or not, not ALL people work 9-5. Maybe in YOUR little world they do, but in the REAL world,there are many people who work at Atlanta’s sports venues, hotels, etc. who work until 1, 2, 3 am, etc. and need to get home when their shifts end.

Puhleeze!

June 22nd, 2009
4:48 pm

The stations ARE unsafe! People have been robbed and murdered at MARTA stations. Are you kidding me? Do you know how many cars are burglarized at MARTA stations? I know someone, personally, whose car has been broken into TWICE at Kensington. Marta Evangelist, you must live in LaLa Land!

A.J. in Decatur

June 22nd, 2009
4:52 pm

Marta Evangelist,you must own stock in MARTA. “MARTA is great! MARTA is beautiful! MARTA is affordable! MARTA drivers (on the Northside, at least!) are just peachy-keen!” Arrrghhh (that’s the sound of me throwing up).

Marta Evangelist

June 22nd, 2009
4:57 pm

Ha! Yeah, I’m over-the-top about Marta…I admit it. Why not, it saves me tons of money and time, it allows me to read while someone else safely gets me where I need to go, and if I have too much to drink at night I don’t have to worry about driving drunk. I have no ulterior motives, other than trying to get people to realize that there are some of us that are well-off, educated, car-owning, and yes…white, and we use Marta because it makes our life better.

And Puhleeze! – if you show me a credible web site that shows where someone has been murdered on MARTA I will gladly meet you at 5 points tonight with a $5 bill for you.

Puhleeze!

June 22nd, 2009
5:18 pm

Bynum, 44, was just two weeks from getting married when he made a trip to California, leaving his car at a friend’s house near the Lenox MARTA station.

Gordon Bynum, Jr. (44), a marketing executive, returned from the West Coast late on the evening of June 9, 1999, and took MARTA from the airport to the Lenox station and was shot and murdered. The murderer was never convicted because trial ended in a mistrial.

You can give my $5 to any homeless person that you see on MARTA tonight.

.

Puhleeze!

June 22nd, 2009
5:26 pm

Oh! And don’t forget the grandmother who was KIDNAPPED from the Lindbergh station and RAPED in June 2002! Yeah, right. MARTA is safe.

Give another $5 bucks to another homeless rider for me.

The Marta Police Crime Stats for 2005 show 65 robberies, 46 aggravated assaults and 1 rape. The highest number of crimes are related to larceny(332) and auto theft(119).

The MARTA police and MARTA employees are rarely seen on the trains or in the stations along the north-south routes. Instead MARTA places helpful posters on all trains encouraging passengers to “move away from the source of trouble” and call MARTA police, who are practically invisible in the trains or stations.

Still feel safe on MARTA? If so, then, good for you!

msu

June 22nd, 2009
5:27 pm

I thank God that Marta is still running and have not shut down completely. Rather than complain, i choose to be thankful, at least i can get from point A to B, because i do not have a car.

Peri

June 22nd, 2009
5:32 pm

I second that, msu, I just feel that MARTA’s rate hike is uncessary and penalizes the every-day-low-income-rider-who-doesn’t-have-a-car, not your traveling-to-airport-riders.

Tony

June 22nd, 2009
5:32 pm

The state of georgia and the Governor are the ones to be blamed for Martas wo’s. Marta is the only major public transportation system that is not partially funded with state funds. I totally agree that there is a lot of improvements that need to addressed especially with the perpetially late busses. I will still ride Marta to and from work as it is still convient for me. $.25 is a tollerable increase for me.

Sara

June 22nd, 2009
5:33 pm

I ride MARTA daily, and have been doing so since 1996. I live just over 6 miles from my office. My commute on MARTA is an hour and a half on a good day – it has been as long as 2 hours and 20 minutes. 45 minutes of the 90 minute commute are spent waiting on buses that don’t show up. (It’s not unusual to spend 30-45 minutes waiting on a bus that’s supposed to run every 15 minutes.) Remember – this is on a GOOD day. I have waited over an hour on these buses more times than I care to recall.

This same trip in a car takes 20 minutes in normal traffic.

So no, it’s not worth it. The problem isn’t just having to pay .25 more per ride. The problem is having to waste a minimum of 350 minutes of my life every week on the sick joke that is Atlanta’s public transit system.

Roxy

June 22nd, 2009
5:40 pm

Evangelist, I live and work in-town. The parking lots are heavily subsidized, but are a six-block walk from my office. It will be decidedly less expensive to drive, and I won’t have to sit next to anyone drenched in urine, listen to a parent scream obscenities at their toddler, or sit next to a Unabomber lookalike. I’ve taken MARTA for 3 years – mostly reliable – but I’m done.

JB

June 22nd, 2009
5:44 pm

The MARTA system is terrible compared to mass transit in other cities. The worst part is, it is already a more expensive option than other cities, and less efficient. The system needs a complete overhaul if it wants to seriously have a positive effect on Atlanta traffic.

Joseph B

June 22nd, 2009
5:50 pm

Congrats to MARTA! Finally they got some sense. Fares have not been raised in forever and have not been adjusted for inflation even when gas was $4. So good for them. And for all the “poor people” who you all say can’t afford the fare increase you tell me how they buy all these fanciful shoes and fast food junk all day. They surely can and will be able to afford to not eat a Big Mac for a week so they can get to work. Not even in a Prius can you go from the Airport to Mansell Road for $1.75 so suck it up and be thankful for the (little) transit we do have in this terribly run state and city.

Roxy

June 22nd, 2009
5:56 pm

Joseph, what poor people do you have up there on Mansell Road??

Joseph B

June 22nd, 2009
6:04 pm

Well could it be the poor people that live maybe in South Atlanta yet work at North Point Mall? I was referring to the “poor” referenced earlier in this comment section.

The Boykin

June 22nd, 2009
6:17 pm

How dumb do you have to be to sit on Marta for two hours to get six miles. You could get pushed in a wheel barrel faster than that.

Wendy

June 22nd, 2009
9:04 pm

If you check any major city of the size of Atlanta you will see that their public transit systems cost the same if not more than the proposed increase. Just keeping up with the times.

Atl Girl

June 22nd, 2009
9:35 pm

To Puhleeze, please check your facts again, Gordon Bynum was not shot at the MARTA station

Najeh Davenpoop

June 22nd, 2009
10:20 pm

I ride MARTA whenever the alternative means paying for parking, and I don’t mind having to pay a quarter extra. But until they find a way to change their funding scheme so they can undertake new expansion projects to serve currently underserved areas, their money problems are going to continue. Of course they need to find a way to expand to Gwinnett, Cobb, and Clayton, but there are a lot of people even within Fulton and DeKalb who are not within walking or short driving distance of a MARTA station, and taking MARTA means a longer travel time for most of them.

EmMeThree

June 22nd, 2009
10:53 pm

To Puhleeze!, The greater majority of MARTA police officers on the trains are plain-clothes officers. If you’d like to see one simply enter a station without paying.

To Roxy, nice comment. I hope you quoted John Rocker’s Sports Illustrated acticle as the source of your remarks. Otherwise it’s plagarism!

BMac

June 22nd, 2009
10:57 pm

MARTA…the subway to nowhere…..

Homeless poor people suck!

June 23rd, 2009
12:07 am

BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!

THE POOR PEOPLE CAN’T AFFORD IT! WELL I SAY, BOO FREAKING HOO!!!!! IN THE WORDS OF FDR, “YOU ARE POOR BECAUSE YOU CHOOSE TO BE!”

A.J. in Decatur

June 23rd, 2009
10:19 am

Gordon Bynum may not have been killed at a MARTA station, but he was leaving one — and that still doesn’t diminish the other, verifiable crime stats of incidents that HAVE taken place at MARTA stations.

Mike

June 23rd, 2009
10:52 am

If most MARTA riders can afford $200 IPods and $300 sneakers, they can afford an extra 25 cents for a ride to work. If not, they can sell their Hawks or Falcons tickets.

Melody

June 23rd, 2009
11:09 am

I completely agree with Nichole. I get a discounted card through my employer, and it’s much cheaper than driving twelve miles to work and then paying for parking. I also live in the real world, and I don’t expect MARTA to be like the Ritz either.

Bryan

June 23rd, 2009
12:08 pm

I think there are a lot of folks that need to wake up and support Marta. The fare increase was long over due. Numbers show that it should actually be more than $2 bucks just because of inflation. That is still cheap. I’m glad to see people like Marta Evangelist that still support transit. Puhleeze!, I don’t know why you down the system so much and don’t even have your facts right when you do. Thanks Atl Girl for clarifying that the gentleman was not killed at a Marta station. Unfortunately he was killed walking home but he could have been walking from anywhere, a bar, a lounge, someones house. But because it was a Marta station it was a way to keep fear out there about the system. There are definitely improvements that need to be made and I feel that even the most stearn advocates for transit in ATL will tell you that. But what can you expect for a system that serves 5.6 million people but only about 2 million actually pay into the system and there is no support from the state? The same state that won’t even let Marta control it’s own money. Could Marta train cover more area… they sure could but how when counties like Cobb and Gwinett are so scared that trains are going to bring crime. Like the people here doing crimes don’t have cars or something and can just drive and post up somewhere and wait for their victims. No they’d rather take a train so that the police can be waiting at the next station for them. If you haven’t noticed most Marta station promote dense transit oriented development which is not low income and also business considering moving to the area want to have transit as an option for their employees, especially rail transit. Even in the city itself there are still folks who complain about not having transit but don’t want the train to come through their neighborhoods, scared it is going to bring the criminal element. You can’t expect all of Marta to run every 5 minutes and have 24 hour service if you don’t pay into the system. I would love to see the rail service doubled in size and more buses out there running every 10 minutes and a 24 hour system but 1)no one wants to pay for it and 2) the folks are so scared that they don’t want Marta in their area. They’d rather have their own system that will never run on the same level as Marta and that connects with the rail system. I guess that one extra transfer will deter them from coming out there and robbing. Marta isn’t perfect and even though it is sorely underfunded Marta has made mistakes too but that is just part of the business. Overall Marta is pretty efficient with the resources it has. Just remember no Marta, there is no Atlanta, and no Atlanta, Georgia would just be grass and country folk lost behind the times.

Reality

June 23rd, 2009
1:07 pm

I guess the people complaining the most are the ones who ride MARTA on weekends. I use it as my only means of transportation. I must admit it seems like a totally different system on weekends and during off peaks hours. During weekday peak hours the trains and buses do run on time. I gave up my car a few years ago when gas climbed over two bucks a gallon. I have never been late for work. Travel time from Buckhead to Decatur is 40 min. I leave work at 4:30 in Decatur, travel to downtown, transfer northbound, transfer to a bus at Arts Center and occasionally the bus pulls up in front of my apartment at 5. Not bad for 13.00 bucks a week and unlimited rides.

Marta Student

June 25th, 2009
10:32 pm

I’m a Georgia State student and a faithful MARTA rider. However, I do have to say that the entire MARTA system here is in DESPERATE needs for improvements. During peak times the trains may run better, but not everyone rides the train between 7 and 9. When I’m leaving from class at 2, I often have to wait up to 25 minutes for the train. I’ve had numerous experiences where I’ve called the Customer Service office and they’ve said, “Oh, the train just left,” or something like that, but I will have been standing at the platform for the past 15 minutes. And don’t even get me started on the weekends, especially if you’re going the North Springs route (where my former job is located). It literally took me almost 2.5 hours to get to work each day. Just reason # 247 why I need a car, lol! But I find it interesting that those who have regular 9-5 M-F jobs are the only ones who think MARTA is so awesome, and for them it is. I would just hope that they might consider or think about those who are not as fortunate as that. Lastly, for Atlanta to be the “Capitol” of the South, you would think they would have a more intricate, extensive, expansive, cleaner, safer, and just all around better train/bus system like San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago. I’m just saying…