By Jennifer Jinadu-Wright
The past few years have been transformative for MARTA. The agency is on a much stronger financial footing, rail and bus service is more frequent and more people are riding the system.
Recently, MARTA used an independent research firm to conduct a market survey to better understand our customers and identify opportunities to grow our ridership.
Our findings reaffirmed that we should continue to make the case that public transit is a safe, reliable and convenient alternative to the automobile. Research shows that MARTA has an opportunity to:
- Increase awareness of where the system goes, both region-wide and at the local level. Many potential customers don’t know if there is a stop or station near where they live, work, or travel for personal business.
- Use MARTA rail as an introductory point to the system; potential riders are far more likely to try rail first.
- Increase awareness of the value of MARTA – which is a flat fare system that costs $2.50 to ride (and $1 for a Breeze card) with free transfers.
- Increase participation among area employers in the Employer Partnership Program, targeting those with their workers who are the most likely to ride.
- Promote MARTA’s safety and low-crime rate, particularly among non-riders.
- Improve customer service through better employee training
The population within MARTA’s service area has been segmented into four categories – primary riders, secondary riders, potential riders and no potentials. Millenials are especially keen on riding MARTA and find it a good value compared to driving.
Of those surveyed, rail is the preferred public transit mode. Even so, MARTA is committed to making bus service a more attractive transportation option. MARTA’s Planning department is putting the final touches on the Comprehensive Operational Analysis, an in-depth reworking of our existing bus routes to make them more efficient, effective and customer friendly.
Expect to see and hear more advertisements in the next few weeks encouraging you to give MARTA a try, especially for trips to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. A recent survey ranked Hartsfield-Jackson as the tops in the nation for transit accessibility because of the direct connection to the main terminal gates that MARTA provides.
The Midtown Alliance has named June “Try Transit” month and is encouraging individuals who live or work in Midtown to put down the car keys and pick up a MARTA Breeze card or commute with one of our transit partners: Georgia Regional Transportation Authority Xpress buses, Cobb Community Transit or Gwinnett County Transit.
Use MARTA’s MyCommute trip planner or check Google Maps to find the closest MARTA bus stop or rail station near you. Ensure you’ll have a stress-free trip by downloading our “On the Go” mobile app to get real-time train and bus arrivals. Also, don’t forget to check out our new video and let us know what you think MARTA should be doing to grow its ridership.