MARTA approves fare increase, service changes
The MARTA board of directors Monday approved its budget for fiscal year 2010 that includes a combination of a fare increase and service changes to make up for a multi-million dollar operating budget gap.
Starting Oct. 1, fare will increase from $1.75 to $2.00, marking the first fare increase since 2001. The board of directors did back down on some changes. For example, MARTA trains will continue to run until 1 a.m. instead of stopping at midnight, as had been proposed.
The directors noted riders expressed the most concern about this proposal during public hearings held last Tuesday and Wednesday. Event organizers and other business interests urged the board to reconsider. From the AJC:
Other board members argued that the proposal to stop rail service early drew the biggest complaints from the biggest range of riders, and that going back and forth would cause administrative problems.
“Far, far and away that was the biggest issue people had,” said MARTA board chairman Michael Walls, who heard from riders at public hearings last week. “It cuts across all the classes,” from poorer people returning from late-night jobs to better-off people attending evening events downtown.
Events organizers wrote MARTA a letter last week asking it to reconsider the rail service cutback. The chief operating officer of the Chick-fil-A Bowl addressed the board before its vote Monday to reiterate the message and let them know the negative impact it would have on events.
Additionally, directors decided to salvage three of four bus routes that had been proposed for elimination: The 182 Headland Drive/Barge Road Park & Ride; the 245 Kensington/Emory Blue Flyer; and the 273 Fulton Industrial Blue Flyer. The 23 Peachtree/Buckhead Road bus has been eliminated and proposed modifications to 41 other bus routes have been approved.