Things You Never Knew You Wanted to Know: MARTA’s Lost and Found

28 Apr

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In a small office at the north corner of the Forsyth Street side of Five Points Station, through a door next to a set of glass-partitioned windows, sit a pair of huge suitcases, at least seven bicycles, umbrellas, jackets and backpacks by the dozen, knee-high piles of books, scores of sets of keys, a saxophone and two baby carriers. They’re among the more than 500 items that will be left in transit stations, trains and buses this month and eventually find their way to MARTA’s lost and found.

  • Most frequently lost items: Keys, phones, book bags, glasses, books
  • Full-time lost and found staff: Zero. The staff at the reduced-fare office also run the agency’s lost and found –  logging, sorting and storing the items, maintaining the lost and found database, attempting to contact the owners of lost IDs and fielding calls and emails from people looking for their belongings
  • Eight bicycles were left on MARTA in the last 30 days, four of them just this week. Most were left on bus bike racks.
  • Conventions, festivals and major sporting events don’t generate spikes in the number of lost items. What does? New Years Eve and weekends.
  • Chances that a lost item will be claimed by its owner: Pretty low. The average claim rate so far this year is 17 percent. The average claim rate for fiscal 2011 was less than 12 percent, and less than 20 percent for fiscal 2010.
  • Average number of items turned in per month: 560
  • Items most likely to be claimed: Phones, wallets, laptops and other electronics
  • After 30 days, usable unclaimed items are usually donated to the Red Cross, Salvation army, church outreach organizations and shelters. Unclaimed keys are turned over to MARTA’s building services department for scrap metal
  • A prosthetic leg was brought in last summer. It has yet to be claimed.

Sources:

Roosevelt Stripling – manager of customer service, reduced fare and lost found

Leslie C. Porter – supervisor of half-fare eligibility

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