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MARTA to make major expansion of on-demand shuttle into Alpharetta, Morrow

A MARTA Reach bus. (Special: MARTA.)

By John Ruch

MARTA’s test of an on-demand shuttle bus is already so successful the service is getting a major expansion into Alpharetta, Morrow and other areas.

MARTA Reach, a six-month pilot program between the transit agency and Georgia Tech, launched on March 1 with coverage zones in Forest Park and Southwest and Southeast Atlanta. The focus is the last-mile connectivity issue of people whose destinations are significantly far from an existing bus stop or transit station and who might not want or be able to walk. The weekday service offers $2.50 rides via an Uber-style app or by phone call.

MARTA is now expanding the coverage zones in two phases.

The first phase, on May 16, will expand into West Atlanta to include Dixie Hills, near Florida Heights and Collier Heights, with new connections to the Bankhead and West Lake MARTA Stations. And the East Atlanta zone will be expanded to include Avondale Estates and a new connection to Kensington Station.

On May 30, the West Atlanta coverage will expand southeast into the cities of Forest Park and Morrow, with new connections to the Route 196 bus, Clayton State University, Southern Regional Medical Center and Southlake Mall.

Also on May 30, a new zone will launch in Alpharetta and Roswell in North Fulton, with connections to the Routes 85, 140, 141 and 142 buses via the Mansell Road Park and Ride. Locations in that area include the Avalon shopping area and Georgia State University’s Alpharetta campus.

“We have seen significant interest and loyalty from the early riders of MARTA Reach,” said MARTA Chief Customer Experience Officer Rhonda Allen in a press release. “Most of our riders take many trips a day, connecting to grocery stores, schools and daycare, social activities, and the broader MARTA system. We’re thrilled at the opportunity to expand the program to serve more riders in more parts of our region for the second half of the pilot.”

MARTA Reach is just one of several on-demand van or bus services operating in Georgia, including in Valdosta, Gainesville/Hall County and Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. MARTA has said that if its pilot is successful enough to create a permanent service, it likely would seek bids from private technology providers.

For more details, see MARTA’s website.



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