Atlanta, GA (CBS46) In 2014, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority or MARTA reported 530 crimes on its properties, ranging from robbery, rape, auto theft and aggravated assault.
So far this year, that number sits at 442 crimes with two months left in the year.
CBS46 found several lawsuits against MARTA since 2005 alleging neglect and failure to protect passengers. This as the city prepares to host the largest sporting event in the country in four months, Super Bowl 53 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium!
In 2002, a former flight attendant says she was kidnapped and brutally assaulted at the Lindburgh Station and her lawyer sued claiming MARTA officials were negligent and failed to protect her client.
After that lawsuit, a visitor to Atlanta claims she was beaten, raped and kidnapped at an Atlanta MARTA station in 2015.
Then in April of 2017, a lawsuit alleges a man took a loaded gun onto a MARTA train and shot and killed a passenger and injured another one.
“They have a duty to take reasonable measures,” said attorney Michelle Stumpe.
So CBS46 did some digging. Smart Asset, a financial technology company, rated the best U.S. cities for public transportation and MARTA does not make the top 10 cut. Washington D.C., San Francisco and Boston top that list.
And World Atlas rates the best transit systems in the world. New York City is the only U.S. city on the list, coming in at number 7.
“Patrol was an issue in our case,” continued Stumpe. “The fact that patrols stopped I believe at 11 p.m. and yet trains were still running until 2 a.m., I think.”
MARTA Police recently hosted the region’s largest emergency preparedness exercise to prepare for Super Bowl 53 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in February.
Actors creating a realistic setting for first responders in the event of a mass emergency, the FBI, Transportation Security Administration and Atlanta Police were all a part of the exercise. CBS46 showed up that night to question officials about safety at the transit system on a daily basis, not just during the Super Bowl when all eyes are on Atlanta.
“One of the things that really concerned me was when I asked for a list of all the kidnappings all the assaults all of the carjackings. We were going thru the list and I couldn’t find my client’s incident,” said Stumpe.
Stumpe says that’s because in 2002, if a kidnapping occurred on MARTA property, then the victim was assaulted and beaten or killed off property, the incident would not be reported to have happened on MARTA property.
CBS46 repeatedly tried to ask if that reporting system has changed and if all the systems 10 thousand cameras are in working order.
MARTA has 38 rail stations and runs 110 bus routes. The system boasts it has 10 thousand surveillance cameras working around the clock. The website says this means you are never alone when you are riding MARTA.
Stumpe, who has filed and won cases against the mass transit agency, begs to differ.
“We need MARTA. The city needs a public transportation system but we also need a system that is safe. One that we can rely on and that cares about the safety of its patrons,” Stumpe told CBS46 News.
CBS46 will keep you posted.
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