MARTA announces Atlanta Streetcar acquisition

Photo from The Signal Archives

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) announced on Tuesday, May 5 that it will officially take over the Atlanta Streetcar on July 1 and is working to integrate the streetcar into its new Office of Light Rail Operations.

The MARTA press release stated that the primary day-to-day functions and maintenance concerns for the rail system will be overseen by the new office. “Communications, human resources, and policing, as well as other support services, will be provided by staff within current MARTA department.”

Chief Operating Officer Rich Krisak said he wanted to expand the transit opportunities within Atlanta and the new acquisition provide a way to do so.

“As MARTA looks at ways to provide more and better transit options, the streetcar presents an opportunity to expand with light rail,” he said. “Multi-modal transportation is what we do at MARTA and this addition to our rail fleet will offer another safe and convenient mode of travel to people moving through the downtown area.”

Beginning July 1, it will be free to ride the streetcar. The MARTA Board of Directors are still discussing what the streetcar’s final fare will be.

According to MARTA spokeswoman Stephany Fisher, efforts to take over the streetcar began late last year.

The streetcar has faced a lawsuit in the past and a lack of ridership that MARTA hopes to address once it assumes ownership of the service. The Signal previously conducted a poll that showed 96 percent of student respondents did not ride the streetcar, and some indicated they were even against its expansion.

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