June MARTA news roundup

June MARTA News Roundup

Whether you scoot, skate, or sprint across Atlanta, chances are, transit options are as vital to getting you around the city as the board, bike, or boots under you! And it’s no different for our advocacy efforts here at Propel ATL, as we recognize that advocating for a better public transit experience elevates other forms of transportation 

So, without further ado, let’s talk transit!

New MARTA Board Appointment

We’re excited to kick our transit coverage off with the amazing news that one of our own,  Sagirah Jones, Propel ATL’s Senior Programs Manager, was appointed by the City of Atlanta to serve on the MARTA Board of Directors!


MARTA’s bus network redesign

It seems the long-awaited and highly overdue redesign of MARTA’s bus network is moving forward again, starting with an April 13th meeting in which MARTA's board approved a “Resolution to Approve a Framework to Guide Completing a Comprehensive Bus Network Redesign.” 

This resolution, which we received via email from MARTA officials, included two major policy decisions. The board voted to emphasize ridership over coverage by changing the “Ridership-Coverage ratio” from the current level – 60% ridership and 40% coverage –  to 75%-80% ridership and 20-25% coverage.” This means the redesigned network would have more routes and schedules that serve higher numbers of people in denser parts of the city, and fewer routes that ensure everyone in the MARTA area has access to the system. 

We’re strongly in favor of higher frequency bus service as an essential standard for a healthy and equitable transit system. After all, would you rely on transit to get to work or appointments if the bus came just once an hour?

At the same time, people who live outside the city core and rely just as much on MARTA for consistent transportation could be left hanging. And while it is a tough balancing act, we will not compromise our advocacy. We will continue to speak out for more transit service and funding overall to accomplish both ridership and coverage goals to ensure no Atlantan is without access to a transit system that properly meets their needs.

The memo also states the amount of bus service provided by the updated bus network will be near service levels from August 2021. Now, you may say, “Well, why does this matter? A more recent data set is preferable, right?


But, there’s a slight problem with that assumption...

Bus service levels in 2021 were actually LOWER in 2021 than levels from 2019, the year MARTA originally set as the service benchmark.. As a result, this means the redesigned network could very well have less service than originally planned and limit its transformative impact.


Stay tuned as we continue to follow up on the bus network redesign with more information and  opportunities to get involved and make your voice heard this fall! 


Summerhill BRT Groundbreaking

Speaking of frequent bus service, last week we attended the groundbreaking for the region’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) line, the Summerhill/Capitol Avenue BRT. MARTA also unveiled new branding and a new name for BRT service at the ceremony, announcing the new name as MARTA Rapid.

Rapid service is set to start sometime in “summer 2023” with current construction/implementation efforts going full steam. During the design phase, Propel ATL advocated for several changes to the design of the line, and we were very pleased to see that some of those changes had been implemented. Some major changes included expanding the line’s operating hours to 5 AM - 1 AM to better align with MARTA rail service hours and a focus on safer and accessible pedestrian access to new Rapid bus stations.