ATLANTA - The city has its eyes on the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) following a shooting in Decatur Thursday afternoon that left one person dead and three others injured.
The incident is just another layer of challenges added to the public transit’s growing concerns impacting riders over the past few weeks.
In the initial days following the collapse of a vital portion of I-85, MARTA ridership surged 20 percent system-wide. Breeze card purchases, as well as data from gate usage and parking operations, also signaled a strong uptick in ridership across the system.
11Alive spoke with MARTA passengers about the increase in traffic and safety concerns.
Lindbergh Transit Station is a hub for many riders like Curtis Powell who has been riding MARTA for 20 years. He began riding when he resided in Dunwoody coming from North Springs Station. Now working in Midtown, he continues riding for big events like Friday’s Braves home opener.
Powell was not aware of the shooting when it happened on Thursday night, but he feels that overall the train is safe.
“I’ve seen an increased level of officers really since the bridge collapse and an increase in ridership,” Powell said.
Bernice McMillian told us she has been riding MARTA for over 30 years and she feels safe during her travels.
“Yes, I feel safe. Do I look safe,” McMillian laughed. “I ride the train, bus, everything. For me, I think they are doing great and it saves a lot stress.
Through the month of April, all riders will automatically receive 50 percent off all weekday uberPOOL rides that begin or end at a MARTA station, during commuter hours (6-10 a.m. and 4-8 p.m.).
The City of Atlanta announced the launch of CommuteATL, an online platform designed to help residents and visitors plan their travel while the Interstate 85 bridge is being reconstructed.
The CommuteATL map incorporates real-time travel alerts from Waze, including road closures, accidents and current travel speeds. The map also provides real-time schedule information for all modes of transportation, including the Atlanta Streetcar, MARTA bus and rail schedules as well as parking lot conditions.
Finally, the map shows the locations of Relay Bike Share stations for quick and convenient last-mile connectivity. The CommuteATL team is working to add new features to the online platform to make travel around the city more convenient.
“For the next several weeks, the City of Atlanta asks the public to choose transit, tele-commute, and use ride-sharing services as much as possible,” said Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Public Works Commissioner William Johnson. “We hope CommuteATL will assist people as they make plans to travel to work, to school, or to any of the special events happening in our city. As we work to mitigate traffic congestion, our primary focus is preserving access for our first responders and to hospitals. We want everyone to make it to their destination safely, and we hope this new tool can help in this effort.”