MARTA technical problems cause headaches for riders - CBS46 News

MARTA technical problems cause headaches for riders

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  • Riding MARTA? Bring cash

    Riding MARTA? Bring cash

    Monday, September 3 2012 3:18 PM EDT2012-09-03 19:18:36 GMT
    MARTA officials are urging customers to bring cash until a system-wide problem with its credit and debit card machines can be fixed. The agency sent the following message to its customers Saturday: "MARTAMore >
    MARTA officials are urging customers to bring cash until a system-wide problem with its credit and debit card machines can be fixed.More >
ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

It was a rough weekend for a number of MARTA riders.

Multiple problems popped up on one of the city's busiest weekends.

Residents and visitors to Atlanta said the problems with MARTA started early. Ramps shut down, causing confusion, and then there were problems with escalators not working right in the middle of Dragon*Con.

Riders said the broken escalators were a pain for those in big uncomfortable costumes, particularly those with kids.

Lindon Little came up to a broken escalator while carrying a 4-year-old. "She was asleep already so we were carrying her and then we got to the escalator and we thought, 'Oh great, I guess we'll have to walk down stairs instead of going down the escalator,'" said Little.

Then simply buying a MARTA card became a problem when riders were greeted with a cash-only message. Philip Matthews uses the MARTA often.

"They get you used to doing it one way and now it's a totally different way without any kind of notice," said Little.

Eric Oliveros agreed. "A lot of times all people have is plastic. Having cash is almost a dying trend," said Oliveros.

With those types of complaints, we had some Tough Questions for MARTA, particularly why people can't use their credit cards.

"It was just a system malfunction. It wasn't sending the correct data back to the Breeze vending machine and it caused our system to not accept credit. Not accept debit originally and then shut down on credit as well," said Ryland McClendon, MARTA's assistant general manager of Communication and External Affairs.

MARTA said it immediately started working on the problem, all while doing its best to lessen the blow for riders with extra staff and more trains. Unfortunately, it was up against some record crowds.

"We did plan, but apparently more folks came than we anticipated," said McClendon.

MARTA said it's sorry for the inconvenience, but riders said considering how busy it was this weekend, sorry just doesn't cut it. "It was a terrible weekend for that to happen," said Oliveros.

Cynthia Hamilton couldn't agree more. "If there's really 50,000 people who came in for Dragon*Con, they really should have had this up and running. This is a lot of people to put out of comfort," said Hamilton.

MARTA said it doesn't know when the system will be up and running again but it is frantically working to fix it. So in the meantime, MARTA said bring cash with you just in case.

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