MARTA seeking to grow ridership by expanding partners who get discount fares

By David Pendered

MARTA intends to grow the number of businesses in its discount Partnership Program and on Thursday is slated to open bids from vendors that want to provide the service. The contract will be for less than $200,000 according to the bid.

MARTA bus, CNG, 1

MARTA intends to hire a contractor ramp up membership in its Partnership Program, which offers discount fares. File/Credit: MARTA

Participating businesses will be eligible for significant savings, according to the bid. The rate scale for discounts for organizations that purchase bulk discounts include:

  • One to nine passes per month: 5 percent discount for a price of $90.25 per pass;
  • Ten to 1,499 passes per month: 15 percent discount for a price of $80.75 per pass;
  • Minimum of 1,500 passes per month: 20 percent discount for a price of $76 per pass;
  • Transportation Management Association: 20 percent discount for a price of $76 per pass.

These rates are to be in effect through June 30, 2017. A rate increase is to take effect on July 1, 2017 and raise the price of partnership passes to rates outlined in a MARTA chart.

According to the program’s guidelines, the partnership program is aimed at entities that have the ability to bundle riders into a group that’s large enough to warrant discount prices. The entities include TMAs, governmental agencies, small businesses, big businesses, property management companies and apartment communities.

The company MARTA intends to intensify marketing for the program is to target entities located within a quarter-mile of a MARTA rail station. A quarter-mile is the generally accepted distance that a person would walk to reach a transit station.

The contractor agrees to take on a fair amount of research to market the program. The contractor agrees to provide the following information within 15 days of signing the contract – a list of eligible entities and provide information including the person who would make the decision to join MARTA’s Partnership Program, plus the entity’s name, address, number of potential transit riders, and, if a business, the work classification as designated by the U.S. Department of Labor.

The next step is for the contractor to conduct telephone sales pitches to all the entities on the list. MARTA agrees to provide all the relevant collateral materials the contractor may need to make a sales pitch.

The contractor has 15 days from the date a client signed a contract to deliver a training plan for the future transit riders.

marta, king station

King Memorial MARTA Station mural shows a person in flight. File/Credit: Kelly Jordan

The contractor’s workload will be lightened in cases where the client is located within the territory of a TMA. Eight MARTA rail stations have TMAs, including Arts Center, Buckhead, Civic Center, Lenox, Lindbergh Center, Medical Center, Midtown and North Avenue.

MARTA issued the request for proposals on Sept. 29, according to a letter from MARTA’s contract manager, Jaqueline Holland. The work is being handled as a subcontract for MARTA’s marketing department.

MARTA has assigned a goal of zero percent for small business participation in the project. However, vendors who apply, “will take affirmative action to assure that small business enterprises are strongly pursued for participation on this contract and will document their best efforts to ascertain DBE [disadvantaged business enterprise] participation in different aspects of the project as an integral part of their submitted proposal.”

 

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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