For the first time in a few years, Atlanta has some celebrating to do in regard to public transit. And it isn’t just MARTA getting a little smarter. Here are the top five new developments in 2014 to toast.
1. Increased MARTA Frequency
As of May 19, frequency of trains increased to every 10 minutes from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. If you’re the lucky commuter waiting at a station on the shared red and gold line, you’ll see a train every five minutes. In addition, about 17 bus routes are also getting a lift in service.
2. Increased MARTA Revenue
According to MARTA, a simple change of requiring a MARTA bus drivers to be present in order for passengers to board buses resulted in a revenue increase of over 2 million dollars in 2014. The first quarter of 2015 (which was actually the fall of 2014) put MARTA at a net profit of $9.5 million.
3. Buckhead Pedestrian Bridge
At the end of June, the two parts of Buckhead divided by Ga. 400 were reconnected via the Buckhead pedestrian bridge. In addition to being a walkway over the highway that connects housing with retail and businesses, the bridge also features a new entrance into the Buckhead MARTA station on the north side of the station. MARTA reported that there was a 27.3 percent increase in customer entries into the station in the months after the bridge opened.
Atlanta saw the return of the streetcar on Dec. 30, 2014. The downtown loop connects with the Peachtree Center MARTA station and stops at locations including the Tabernacle, Centennial Olympic Park, Georgia State University, Sweet Auburn Curb Market and the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site. At one point, Atlanta had one of the largest streetcar systems in the country, which connected neighborhoods with downtown Atlanta.
5. Clayton County Joins MARTA
In November, Clayton County overwhelmingly voted to join MARTA. The county’s transit was discontinued in 2010 due to cost. But starting in March 2015, bus service will return and passenger rail or bus rapid transit will be considered for the long-term.