City News

MARTA Alters Bus Routes as a COVID-19 Response

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority will reduce the number of bus routes but double service on its busiest, most critical routes as a part of an Essential Service Plan. Stonecrest will gain extra service on the 111 Snapfinger Woods bus route that starts at the Indian Creek MARTA Station and the 86 Fairington Road bus route that starts at Kensington Station. Both routes end at The Mall of Stonecrest. The plan will take effect on Monday, April 20th and will keep MARTA running for first responders, health care professionals, and other essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning Monday, MARTA will run 40 bus routes and one new circulator service that provides transportation to 17 hospitals, 22 urgent care centers, 85 grocery stores, and 16 job centers and industrial hubs. Buses will be added to the 34 busiest routes; however, two Stonecrest routes, the 115 Covington Highway and the 116 Redan Road will be suspended. MARTA officials have not announced when these routes will be reinstated.

Bus ridership, while down 40 percent, remains steady on busy routes, resulting in unacceptable crowding, according to MARTA officials. Rear-door boarding, and suspension of bus fares have exacerbated the issue. Despite MARTA's implementation of several crowding mitigation efforts such as instructing operators to display a 'Bus Full' sign when at capacity, a customer hotline to report a full bus, and seat spacing signs to encourage social distancing, there are too many instances of customers ignoring the guidelines, MARTA officials added.

This Essential Service Plan will address crowding by placing MARTA's entire bus fleet on 41 routes. Decals near the boarding door of all buses will encourage customers NOT to board a bus that has no open seats and to wait for the next bus that will be coming along in most cases within 10 minutes. The MARTA Police Department will dispatch officers to the busiest routes to assist with overcrowding, limiting the number of passengers who board, and escorting joyriders off the bus. MARTA has also created a mobile team of officers who will respond in real-time to bus operators who need assistance.

Rail ridership is down almost 80 percent, leaving room on trains for social distancing. Rail service will continue to operate on a Sunday schedule during weekdays with a start time of 5 a.m. The Essential Service plan route list, map and schedules can be found at . For real-time service alerts, follow @MARTASERVICE on Twitter or download MARTA's On The Go app.

Marta Bus