ATLANTA -- When you take public transit, you expect top notch safety, but the 11Alive Center for Investigative Action discovered MARTA drivers don't always follow the rules of the road.
RELATED | MARTA Bus Collision Log
You might think, so what? Everybody does it. But a MARTA bus is a multi-ton vehicle carrying dozens of passengers, and a collision can mean disaster. We got our hands on the red light tickets and then we got the video to back it up.
PDF | MARTA responds to WXIA-TV safety concerns
"Well, if you run a red light, you run a red light. I guess it doesn't matter who you are," said Sarah as she sat at the red light camera intersection of Alpharetta Highway and Mansell Road in Roswell.
Another driver, Rebecca, disagreed.
"Because they've got more people on board, not only are they endangering themselves, but all the other cars around. You're looking at a lot of lives in danger," she said.
Last year, 33 MARTA bus drivers got tickets for running lights at red light camera intersections. On multiple occasions, the light was red before the vehicle even got the the intersection, and still the drivers ran the lights. We saw MARTA buses and MARTA Mobility, for people with disabilities, doing just that.
We also found repeat offenders. MARTA confirmed the the same bus driver ran a red light at Mansell Road and Alpharetta Highway twice in less than two hours.
Another driver ran two different red light camera intersections just half an hour apart.
These are the ones MARTA knows about because they were caught on tape.
That's a reason why the agency says it checks bus driver records with the Department of Driver Services every three months.
Still, we wondered what this says about driver safety, which is why we took a closer look at the accidents involving MARTA buses over the last six months. There were 721 collisions; of those, 293, or 41 percent, were considered preventable.
|CORRECTION In our ON AIR story we said 243 accidents were listed as non preventable it should have read 293 meaning 41% percent were listed as preventable|
721 INCIDENTS IN THE LAST 6 MONTHS
428 Non preventable 59%
293 Preventable 41%
Safety is important, and if a MARTA bus driver is caught running even one red light, one driver we talked to thinks their license should be revoked for a period of time. "because they're endangering our lives."
We asked MARTA for an interview about driver safety last week and said we wanted to know how drivers are disciplined for moving violations.
They promised us something this week, but then said the person we need to interview won't be available until next week.
We'll stay on this and follow up. We'd been asking MARTA for a week about how it handles safety and sent it a list of concerns last week. Several hours before our broadcast, we were promised a statement via e-mail. We got it -- one minute before our 6 p.m. show.