Will MARTA takeover of Streetcar increase ridership? - CBS46 News

Will MARTA takeover of Streetcar increase ridership?

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Source: WGCL Source: WGCL

The City of Atlanta wants more cars off the road and more people on public transit. To help make that happen the Atlanta Streetcar will soon be taken over by MARTA.

“It is comfortable. It is clean,” Amir Hakim Ibndaud told CBS46. He takes the Streetcar nearly every day and has for the past 6 months.

“it is my primary source of transportation,” Ibndaud added.

Mark Kelly a regular MARTA rider who has lived in Atlanta for 30 years has never even heard of the Atlanta streetcar.

“If it is going where I need it to go and it is convenient I would be happy to try it,” Kelly said.  

The Streetcar opened in December 2014 at a cost of $100 million. It travels a 2.7 mile loop Downtown from Centennial Olympic Park to the MLK National Historic Site.

“It didn’t make sense for the city to continue to operate this independent 2.7 mile loop,” explained William Johnson, Deputy Chief Operating Officer of Public Works for the City of Atlanta. Johnson says the city's two systems (Streetcar and MARTA) are now in the process of becoming one.

“It is going to take about a year. There are a lot of things we have to work through we want to do it right. We don’t want to do it in a rush,” Johnson contended.

Friday afternoon, CBS46 sat at a Streetcar stop and watched several cars go by virtually empty. Ibndaud shared sometimes he's the only rider onboard. 

“I think more people will ride it with MARTA,” Ibndaud asserted.

After MARTA takes over, the Streetcar will expand and reach the Beltline something the city hopes will attract new riders.  

“The expansion of the Streetcar, connecting it to the Beltline, is definitely going to support us in that effort,” Johnson suggested.  

Right now, a ride on the Streetcar will cost you $1 per ride. When it debuted, the Streetcar was free and the city says they are considering making it free again. For now they welcome MARTA riders to use there Breeze cards to pay and hop onboard.

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