Mar 1, 2022 - News

MARTA launches transit ridesharing pilot program

A shuttle with MARTA branding with its doors open is parked in a parking lot
Photo: Courtesy of MARTA

Tuesday, MARTA is taking a page from the Uber and Lyft playbook and kicking off a six-month pilot program to test whether ridesharing can get more people on buses and trains.

Why it matters: The distance between a bus or rail station and a person’s home, work, school or other destination is one of the biggest obstacles stopping people from taking transit.

  • Making transit easier to use, especially in some of Atlanta, Clayton and DeKalb’s less-dense residential neighborhoods where a bus stop might seem too far (or unpleasant without a bus shelter), creates more regular transit riders.

Details: The pilot program with Georgia Tech is focused on three different areas: West Atlanta (mostly residential neighborhoods like Collier Heights and Peyton Forest); Belvedere (mostly mixed-use communities like Oakhurst and East Lake); and the Gillem Logistics Center (a mostly industrial area in Forest Park).

  • Riders must download an app that allows them to select a nearby pick-up and drop-off location and see when the shuttle is on its way (the estimated wait time is 15 minutes).

Details: The service is called Reach and operates Monday through Friday from 6 am to 7 pm. A ride costs $2.50, the same as a MARTA fare. Shuttles are equipped with BreezeCard readers and cash fareboxes.

  • Riders can transfer to buses and trains for free like they usually do. (People who pay with cash, however, won’t have the free transfer option.)

Zoom out: Los Angeles created Metro Micro, a service similar to Reach, after its two-year pilot program served more than 270,000 rides and earned high marks from riders.

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