How do MARTA cuts affect you?

Leaving for work earlier? Driving? Car pooling? Walking? Stranded?

MARTA service reductions went into effect Saturday, reports AJC staffer Ariel Hart.

MARTA cut 10 percent of bus service and 14 percent of rail service as it tried to address an estimated $109 million deficit, Hart writes.

What’s the fallout for you? Even if you don’t take MARTA, do you think traffic congestion will get noticeably worse?

Speaking of congestion, any good ideas in these tough financial times? It’s a long time between now and 2012, when a regional sales tax for transportation projects MIGHT get passed.

Also, Hart is working on a story about people’s observations of how MARTA’s cuts worked Monday. If you’d like to comment for her article, please email her at ahart@ajc.com. Thanks.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

25 comments Add your comment

Road Scholar

September 27th, 2010
9:52 am

Saturday I noticed that the trains were much more crowded and it appeared that more cars per train were not added to address the increase interval between trains.

NotSmarta

September 27th, 2010
12:30 pm

The changes were not well enough publicized. I observed several people waiting at now defunct bus stops this morning. Many people will walk for 20, 30, 40 minutes in the dark to reach a bus top. A bus driver advised me today that a route which is supposed to be 20 minutes apart will typically run 35 minutes apart today because MARTA is disorganized and drivers are not yet familiar with the new routes.

Instead of removing services, public transportation agencies like MARTA ought to add services to (a) help disabled citizens who do not drive (b) promote clean air by reducing the number of cars on roads (c) provide an alternative means of transportation for those who cannot afford to own and operate a car, and for those who simply prefer not to drive.

Atlanta wants to be recognized as a world class city. Providing world class public transportation would be a commendable first step in this direction.

Pat21

September 27th, 2010
1:14 pm

Grrr… I was late for work this morning because the usual 7:25am North Springs train became a 7:20am train, and the 7:35am North Springs train became a 7:40am train.

This means if I miss the 7:20 train, I have to stand around for 20 minutes.

If I drove to work, it usually takes about 20 minutes.

I think MARTA is going to lose a lot of people like me who have the option of driving to work, but have chosen to ride MARTA to cut down on gas usage/air pollution/traffic.

MARTA Regular

September 27th, 2010
1:18 pm

NotSmart: How do you propose that MARTA pays for these extra services? I agree that expanded service would be great for many reasons, but the money has to come from somewhere.

To answer the original question, things went relatively smoothly for me this morning. I had to leave my condo 5 minutes earlier to catch a NS train that takes me to my Windward Pky bound bus that leaves at 8:30am. Luckily for me and my fellow Windward commuters, our bus service was not cut.

Atloonta

September 27th, 2010
1:32 pm

Just one more inane decision that is all too common these days coming out of the big town of Atlanta that affects thousands of people every hour in the big town. Build it and they will come, take it away and they will leave. Sales tax revenue is very important these days to keep services running at the minimum. MARTA cuts will affect these revs just as the lack of Sunday sales of alcohol affect the revs. Every little bit helps but in Atlanta and GA for that matter, they just don’t seem to get it! Lets cut police and fire services, school funding, roads and park maintenance but hell no we won’t approve Sunday sales. No no no. I say Ha Ha Ha. Atlanta reaps what is sows. So Atlanta, stop your well deserved whining and enjoy all your well deserved misery.

Mike

September 27th, 2010
1:34 pm

Wait for train was longer and train was packed this morning and everyone was scowling. Meanwhile the escalator in the North Avenue station has been broken for a week. I see the escalator repair contractors have their 2 hour lunch everyday at that very station’s food court. About 15 of them sit and shoot the breeze. Today they had a meeting with their boss. Not very nice things said about MARTA in a very public area (food court at North Avenue). Any good investigative reporter could scope them out pretty easily between 11-1 every day).

Ken Grimes

September 27th, 2010
1:46 pm

Caught the first 116 @ 5:35am yet was STILL late for my 7am start time. MARTA & the state legislature have FAILED to provide what my tax dollars should pay for. I can’t continue to use a service that can’t even get me to work in time within 1hr and 25mins. Sorry, but MARTA has lost a long time supporter. Back to my car it is.

Roxy

September 27th, 2010
1:48 pm

It was a 20-minute wait for the train this morning, which made me late for work (and of course there were no seats). One of my co-workers has to take 2 buses and a train to get here, and he has to leave an hour earlier than he used to.

Looks like driving just became a much better option.

You Asked

September 27th, 2010
1:54 pm

I’m more worried about the impending failure of GRTA Xpress bus service on April 1st of next year.

Looks like Cobb County Transport is my next best alternative. Too bad it will double my commute to the nearest bus stop.

Daniel

September 27th, 2010
1:54 pm

Does not affect me at all : ) That’s why I don’t live in the city limits of the thug city of Atlanta. Ever looked in the windows at the people on those buses? Hilarious. It sure is nice to never have to use MARTA. We all know what MARTA stands for right? : )

Don'tWorry

September 27th, 2010
1:56 pm

Obama will fix the problem. Yes we can! Yes we can!

Laura

September 27th, 2010
2:00 pm

I am glad I live in Cobb County without Metro Atlanta’s “Thug Transit” bringing degenerates and hoodlums into our law-abiding communities.

Meek

September 27th, 2010
2:02 pm

MARTA IS NOT SMARTA (SMARTER)…
I RIDE THE TRAIN TO WORK IN MORNINGS FROM COLLEGE PARK STATION. IT WAS CROWDIER THAN USUAL AT 6AM…! ON BOTH SOUTH AND NORTHBOUNDS ON THE PLATFORM.
I’D RATHER DRIVE AND DEAL WITH TRAFFIC AND GAS, THAN TO GIVE MARTA MY MONEY FOR THEIR INCONVENIENCE THEY BRING TO ME. AND THEY HAVE THE NERVE TO RAISE THE PRICE TO RIDE ON PASSES, AND CUT SERVICES. WOW.

DD

September 27th, 2010
2:04 pm

I thought it was just the rain today making things slow. Oh well I will just have to get up a few minutes early and push the morning slow pokes along Buford Hwy to make it to the train.

Patrick

September 27th, 2010
2:18 pm

I’ll have to spend an extra 30 minutes a day to get to and from school since route 45 got cut. I clearly don’t have the most to complain about, but it’d be nice to have that time back.

To those who drive, have some empathy and think how you’d feel if GDOT funding was cut so that it took you 40% longer to get to and from work. We’re all in this together. Georgia and Atlanta will either succeed together or die apart.

Teach2Learn

September 27th, 2010
2:19 pm

Yes – Route 22 through Oakhurst was cut but replaced by Route 86 and now we have double the bus traffic down our narrow 2nd Avenue. How is that a decrease in service?

atlin83

September 27th, 2010
2:31 pm

Seconding Patrick’s comments, but with a modification. It’s not just the state/city split; Metro Atlanta will either succeed together or die apart.

Teach2Learn – Just because one point on MARTA (your street, presumably) has twice as many buses as it used to doesn’t mean that the whole system didn’t have a decrease. Or that buses weren’t cut elsewhere in your neighborhood. Second Avenue may be all you’ve got left.

joe brenner

September 27th, 2010
2:55 pm

The Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority should be perhaps one of the most fiscally sound and lucrative resources of our city and our state- Atlanta, Georgia. By not extending MARTA around the I285 belt-line perimeter, the city of Atlanta is losing out on the opportunity to become a true capital of entrepreneurship, culture, art, law, religion and social exchange. The argument that our public transportation system “brings in the hoodlums” brings down the image and ideal to our citizens and our youth. we should encourage cultural exchange and the possibility for outsiders to enter “our” side of the tracks. I agree that there should be several new state-funded bus lines that run to different stops then what are presently offered. After using the MARTA system for six years as a GSU student/ resident of Midtown/Buckhead, I have walked to bus stops and ridden my bike to train stations and parked at the sixth floor of Lindhberg Center; average caucasian Jews ride the MARTA as well bus and train a like.

Cheryl

September 27th, 2010
2:59 pm

If trains usually ran on time, another 5 minutes between trains would be no big deal for me. However, they do not regularly run on time. If I take my car to work, it would take me about 25 minutes. I take MARTA out of concern for the environment, but if these schedule changes result in a commute of much more than the 1.25 hours (one way) that I now experience with MARTA, forget it! As for shorter trains at night, I hope there are plans to accomodate crowds after big events. The cars are often jam-packed as it is. I can’t imagine putting up with riding MARTA if they were even more packed.

Marta---no go

September 27th, 2010
3:41 pm

Marta’s the worst metro system in the u.s.–bad service, dirty trains, incompetent employees, … No wonder they lose money. Plus, their trains don’t go to the major spots in Atlanta: Turner Field, Ga Tech, Ga State…. Total morons.

atlin83

September 27th, 2010
8:58 pm

Too good to pass up, “Marta–no go.”

I’m going to assume that you haven’t been to many other places with metro systems in the states. MARTA’s middle-of-the-road at worst, and better than most in just about everything you mention. Train schedules are average (or better – Miami’s run every half hour on weekends, and DC’s stop at midnight most days of the week). The stations are clean – a bit dated maybe, but not filthy or cruddy. There are three stations on or adjacent to Georgia State’s downtown campus (including one aptly named “Georgia State”), two within easy walking distance of tech, and one within a 10-minute walk of Turner Field (even without the Braves Shuttle, it’s still plausible to take MARTA to a game).

QLR7

September 27th, 2010
10:11 pm

I have had conversations with a few folks in ATL about the buses… it was mixed. My mom is just glad that the 193 ended up not being cut. My friend had hers (49) cut in half, however, the end of the line is near her residence. My uncle is irked that the 51 goes between West Lake and downtown, a longer ride for all those on the route. Another elder has a mixed bag: the 160 was cut; it was replaced by 56… now instead of 30 minute waits on weekdays, has been increased to 80 minutes all day. The only plus side is that he has a bus on Sunday…

[...] How do MARTA cuts affect you?Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)MARTA cut 10 percent of bus service and 14 percent of rail service as it tried to address an estimated $109 million deficit, Hart writes. … [...]

winkasdad29

September 28th, 2010
10:17 am

I use MARTA and Xpress at least 3 times weekly. I take Xpress from a park & ride, then a MARTA train to a MARTA bus to my workplace. I arrive at my job at 7:35 to toe the rubber at 8:00. After the changes, I now wake up at 5:45 (cool!), but I arrive at work at 7:50, barely enough time to start at 8:00. I’m OK with this.

It’s going home that’s a bear.

Before changes, the bus arrived at work at 5:00, which enabled me to get my Xpress bus at 5:50, arriving at the P&R at 6:20. Now it comes at 4:45, and I have to wait until 5:30 (30 minutes after quitting time) for the next bus. The next Xpress I can catch is at 6:20, which means arrival at the P&R around 6:55, home around 7:05. Not cool!

As an aside, there will be a state wide vote for transportation funding coming up in 2012. It does not include funding for MARTA. If there is no funding for MARTA, I will vote NO! The state needs to get its head out of the sand when it comes to public transit. MARTA is the only major mass transit system that receives no funding from the state. Also, all the other users (Cobb, Gwinnett, etc.) don’t pay any sales tax to fund the system. That has to change as well.

Bryan -- MARTA supporter

September 28th, 2010
2:58 pm

I personally think it was time for MARTA to look at revamping their system. Though some of the routes are longer there are a lot more streamlined, bi-directional routes than before which I think in the long run will make MARTA more user friendly. I like the bus rapid transit on Memorial Drive too. I think that program needs to be expanded on arteries such as Buford Hwy, Metropolitan Pkwy, Fulton Ind Blvd, and Peachtree Streets. I’m sure there are more streets too just naming a few.

But as usual you have folks talking down about the system that it needs to expand and it’s dirty and nothing but “thugs” ride it. True the bus and rail… and I mean the existing rail need to be expanded but only Fulton and Dekalb want to pay. Everyone wants to ride though. Where are the comments about “the train to NOWHERE” at? Atlanta has one of the cleanest systems I’ve ever seen as far as public transit. Rail transit could have been great and the hwys wouldn’t be 10 lanes wide! Then there’s the dumb comments like Daniel and Laura above. I guess the thugs are too dumb to just transfer to your CCT system. You know the one that connects to MARTA’s Art Ctr station with one of the most frequent running buses in the entire region.. CCT route 10 or with MARTA route 12 at Cumberland Mall where about 4 or 5 CCT routes connect. How about at the Hamilton Holmes stations where 2 CCT routes connect. I guess your area is only safe on Sundays huh… since CCT doesn’t run at all on that day. You OTP folks need to understand if it wasn’t for the “Thug City of Atlanta” as you call it you wouldn’t have your nice suburbs and good jobs that you are fortunate to have. All that was built up because of being around the city of ATLANTA. Not the big city of Marietta. Not the big city of Norcross. Not the big city of Riverdale… ATLANTA!

Metro ATL needs to come together as one. There needs to be one transit system in the area and everyone needs to support it. We could have a great rail system including expanding the current HEAVY rail to Cobb, Gwinett, and Clayton and have some light rail like with the Beltline proposal and even a commuter rail network. We could have a great local and express bus service if the entire region would pitch in and pay. Everyone is so focused on what they are going to get in their area. There are some areas that may not even have a bus line but if you are in the metro area you are going to benefit from having a great local transit system. Transit brings jobs and benefits the economy and helps with quality of life issues such as traffic and pollution.

When is metro Atlanta going to stop fighting with other areas about issues like transit? Probably why the state doesn’t want to help because the people here don’t even want to work together.