MARTA officials pledge to address buses parked in traffic - CBS46 News

MARTA officials pledge to address buses parked in traffic, unattended

Posted: Updated:

MARTA officials speak out about a CBS46 exclusive investigation into MARTA drivers parking their buses in traffic and leaving them unattended.

For the first time in more than a year, MARTA's senior director of operations discussed big changes to the way bus drivers will soon run their routes.

"We're having an assessment done of all of our bus routes, looking at layovers, looking at how we can optimize some sort of layover process without introducing any challenges with traffic, without introducing any challenges for the public," MARTA Senior Director of Operations Joseph Erves said.

Over the last year, CBS46 spotted numerous drivers making stops that endanger both passengers and other drivers.

One driver left her bus parked for 20 minutes in a lane of traffic on Marietta Boulevard with the door open and the engine running.

Another driver left her bus running and unattended while she walked nearly a quarter of a mile to a store.

The policy MARTA implemented after we exposed these concerns states bus operators are prohibited from blocking or obstructing the flow of traffic while in service at any time, except in the case of an emergency.

Yet we continued to find violations. We spotted a driver park in front of the CVS on Marietta Boulevard, which is not a bus stop, and leave his bus running with the door open and passengers on board.

It even happened while we were interviewing a MARTA official.

"Is a discussion to be had with this driver about leaving the bus unattended and running and going into a store?" CBS46's Adam Murphy asked.

"Again that's one of those things I would have to defer to our operations department," MARTA Director of Transit System Planning Don Williams said.

"If the general order says that drivers can't do what they're doing then why are they still doing it?" Murphy asked.

"Because of the confusion. As I've said there are past practices that say that they can do it," Erves said.

So instead of eliminating old policies when they implemented the new one that they sent to CBS46, all old policies stayed in place. Erves says they're now working on one comprehensive plan for all drivers to follow.

"For us to lay out the most efficient, safe and effective plan that everyone understands and it has to be comprehended by all and of course it has to be enforced and we expect everyone to adhere to it," Erves said.

MARTA said they are considering changes to 46 of their 59 layover spots to improve safety. They hope to have a new working plan in place by the first of the year so they can begin training their drivers.

Copyright 2014 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.