Hearings for public comment on proposed bus route and service changes are being held Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. at MARTA’s headquarters on Piedmont Road in Atlanta and Maloof Auditorium on Commerce Street in Decatur.
Proposed changes to MARTA’s bus routes and schedules would leave a two-and-a-half-mile stretch of Peachtree Street with no bus service 13 hours a day.
Under the current service change proposal Route 110 would no longer run between Arts Center Station and Five Points Station before 9:00 a.m. or after 8:00 p.m. For the rest of the day, the route would alternate shortened and full-length service. Every other bus would travel the full route from Five Points Station to Lenox Station and alternating buses would run only between Lenox Station and Arts Center Station.
Route 6, which now runs between Lindbergh Center Station and Inman Park/Reynoldstown Station, would be similarly altered. On weekdays the bus would run alternating trips between Lindbergh Station and the Emory Village roundabout at North Decatur Road and Oxford Road, and between Lindbergh and Inman Park. On weekends all trips would run the full length of the route between Lindbergh and Inman Park.
Changes put forward for other routes are equally novel. Modifications to be implemented on Route 86 read almost like a joke: “Realign services to operate a short turn alignment from GRTA Panola Road Park and Ride Lot to the I-20 Access Road and Old Hillandale Drive on all service days during the hours that the Mall at Stonecrest is closed.” Now riders won’t only have to figure out bus schedules that change every other run, they’ll also need to memorize a mall’s hours.
The agency is planning to modify a total of 10 of its routes beginning April 20 and will hold hearings at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 22 and Thursday, Jan. 24 to field comments from the public.
News of the service changes coincides with MARTA CEO Keith Parker’s announcement Friday that riders might also see a fare increase of up to 25 cents next fiscal year.
Former MARTA CEO Beverly Scott told Maria Saporta in a 2011 interview that the transit agency hadn’t resorted to attempts at “just cutting our way out” of financial problems. But even under new leadership it appears that no one has a better idea yet.