Tag Archives: MARTA

A MARTA Patron’s New Year’s Resolutions*

2 Jan
  1. Hire an attorney and sue someone
  2. Get hair extensions
  3. Go back to school – any school
  4. Attend events that happened four months ago
  5. Shop at Macy’s more
  6. Participate in a clinical trial
  7. Don’t beg
  8. Get a better phone
  9. File for bankruptcy
  10. Buy a car

*As deduced from ads in stations, vehicles and bus stops

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Stat-urday: About the Bus

20 Oct

Bus line at Civic Center StationIn honor of the first World Statistics Day, a few MARTA bus numbers:

500,000 miles or 10 years: The maximum service life of a bus. After buses are retired from service, they’re sold on a public online auction site.

$2,500: The approximate price a second-hand bus usually goes for at auction. They’re generally purchased for parts or scrap metal.

1,290,000: The approximate number of paper timetables MARTA’s print shop prints each year. MARTA’s manager of communications, Cara Hodgson, said in an email that there’s been “no noticeable change” in the demand for paper schedules since they became available online.

Timetables for some routes have to be printed more than others. The three most in-demand printed schedules are for routes 5-Piedmont Road/Sandy Springs, 15-South DeKalb/Candler and 39-Buford Highway. Three of the least in-demand schedules are 47-I-85 Access Road/Briarwood Rd, 103-N. Shallowford Road/Peeler Road and 104-Winters Chapel Road.

8,978: The number of bus stops in MARTA’s service area

4,133: The number of those stops that are in the city of Atlanta

800 to 1000 feet: MARTA’s guideline distance for separation of bus stops. Factors like development density, land use, accessibility and safety sometimes require stops to be placed closer together or farther apart.

5.01 route miles: The length of MARTA’s shortest bus route, which is 67-West End. The longest is 143-Windward Park and Ride at 35.1 route miles

148: The average number of weekday boardings for route 148-Medical Center/Riveredge Parkway, a peak-time-only route, which has the lowest ridership

6,982: The average number of weekday boardings for route 39-Buford Hwy, the route with the highest ridership

$22.37: The average cost for MARTA’s sign shop to manufacture a roadside bus stop sign

92: The number of bus routes MARTA currently operates. That total is down about 30 percent from 133 routes in 2007, nearly 27 percent less than the 126 routes in 2002, and about 41 percent less than the 156 routes running in 1997

Sources: MARTA bus service and operations management staff and Cara Hodgson, director of communications

Friday Five

5 Oct

MARTA: Audit results in, Scott shipping out

25 Sep

Five Points Station, Forsyth Street side

 

  • The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported today that MARTA CEO Beverly Scott is headed to Boston to become MBTA’s general manager when her contract with MARTA expires in December.

Scott spent five years as MARTA CEO and will take a significant salary cut in the new position, which Boston’s WBUR said will pay $220,000 per year for three years. MARTOC’s annual report for fiscal year 2011 lists Scotts salary as $315,000 per year.

She was chosen unanimously by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s board, which was also considering MARTA COO Dwight Ferrell for the job.

“She’ll take the helm of an agency teetering from fiscal problems rooted in heavy debt and coping with expansion demands as well as a backlog of maintenance needs that have gone unaddressed due to insufficient funds,” the Boston radio station said. Sounds like she’ll feel right at home.

Scott, who is scheduled to take up the new post Dec. 15., plans to finish her transportation career at MBTA, telling WBUR that “This is the one where I’m going to end up.”

The auditing firm projects that, although MARTA has addressed a steep fall-off in revenue through layoffs, furloughs, position eliminations, increases in employee insurance premiums and copays, a five-year pay freeze and service cuts galore, the agency’s spending will continue to surpass revenue through 2021 . According to that forecast the revenue shortfall created by the end of fiscal year 2021 would be $248 million. The audit also projected that MARTA will exhaust its financial reserves by the end of fiscal year 2018 and the agency’s reserve fund will fall below its mandated 10 percent level by the end of fiscal year 2016.

“MARTA’s current economic model is unsustainable,” the auditors concluded.

Two revenue leaks that the agency has failed to plug, Creative Loafing reported, are almost $11 million spent to cover employee absenteeism, and retirement costs that exceed the national average by about $22 million annually. The audit report said that collective bargaining agreements with union-represented employees “do not assist MARTA in controlling absenteeism.”

Suggestions to help MARTA save money included contracting out some services like cleaning, payroll, records and data management and customer service. To increase its income, the auditors suggested that MARTA look into selling advertising space on its Web site, on fare cards and fare gates along with increasing the number of ad-wrapped buses and rail cars. They also recommended that MARTA implement daily or monthly parking fees, rent secure bicycle storage at stations and consider “renaming stations for corporate sponsors.”

Monday Salmagundi

27 Aug
  • Good news/bad news from MARTA: A new round of bus service changes – mostly to align published arrival times more closely with when the buses are really showing up – went into effect Saturday for 27 routes. But the southwest entrance to Peachtree Center Station is open again, after being closed for two years for renovation and repairs. Peachtree Center Station, southwest entrance
    • From BuckheadView: Representatives of the ownership at Lenox Square mall presented proposed changes to the mall’s facade to the neighborhood’s design review committee. One of the new features to the entrance will be pedestrian access directly from Peachtree Road. That will be a big improvement on this:Pedestrians at Lenox Square
    • From Curbed Atlanta: Stanley Beaman Sears was selected in the City of Atlanta’s design competition as the firm to convert the first floor lobby of 72 Marietta Street into a gallery space. The building was formerly The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s headquarters building. The newspaper’s parent company donated the building to the city after the AJC’s move to Dunwoody in 2010.
  • The latest “regional snapshot”from the Atlanta Regional Commission focuses on the dramatic slowdown in the Atlanta metro area’s population growth in the last few years. The region’s population increased by about 37,200 people between April 1, 2011 and April 1, 2012 and by about 72,000 in the last two years, according to ARC’s research. In comparison, the region’s population increased by about 100,000 people each year during the decade between 1990 and 2000.

The root of the change, unsurprisingly, is in the wobbly economy. “The Atlanta region’s slowdown is directly attributable to the national economy. During weak economic periods, people don’t move as much because, firstly, job opportunities are slim, thus people aren’t moving to take new jobs. Secondly, with the housing market in such disarray, it is hard to sell a house, which tends to keep people in the same place,” ARC concluded.

Things to do for 20 minutes on a single-tracking Sunday

13 Aug
  1.  Count the tiny mice scampering around the track bed
  2. Try to remember when the information displays in the station last worked
  3. Try to figure out whether you could walk to the next station in 20 minutes
  4. Move out of the way so that guy can use the outlet behind you to charge his phone
  5. Think about just going back outside to catch the bus to where you’re going, but then remember that that bus route was eliminated last year
  6. Decline to buy socks/DVDs/a half-fare card/incense/a 9-volt battery
  7. Wonder what the life span of a transit station-dwelling pigeon is
  8. Be glad you’re not sitting next to the guy holding forth on what’s really in the Bible/the Constitution/the tax code/the water
  9. Wonder how anyone gets up to the ceiling to change the light bulbs over the tracks
  10. Check your phone to see how long you’ve been waiting now (See Item 2)

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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