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Gasp! New Regional Bus Service Could Take Flight

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The Georgia Regional Transit Authority (GRTA), operators of the Xpress bus service throughout the state, is in the process of creating a new strategic plan that could provide some seriously outside-the-box transit options for Atlantans. And by that we mean: slightly non-Balkanized transportation. An article in the Saporta Report indicates that while commuters could see new service into downtown, the most interesting proposed routes could service Hartsfield-Jackson from the far-flung four corners of the metro. If realized, folks from Cobb, Gwinnett, Newnan and Stockbridge — far outside the realm of MARTA service — could have public transit access to the airport for the first time ever. Which could spell less cars on the road for everyone else. But Kennesaw folks, don't book your trip to Kyoto just yet.

Studies of the airport-bus-service plan began in January 2014. Phone surveys indicated that people really want service to the airport, but it's still taken more than a year to put together logistics and figure our potential routing. Buses will only start rolling, however, once funding exists to implement the routes. With budget shortfalls and the system heavily reliant on state subsidies, it could be a while before wheels meet pavement. Still, the proposal is a visible step forward for the agency and its new director, Chris Tomlinson, and with the transportation bill making its way through the legislature, there is hope yet. Reassuringly, through pretty maps and telephone surveys, it seems GRTA is thinking of ways to best benefit and connect the region (gasp) as a whole (double gasp).

· GRTA's draft strategic plan envisions Xpress buses direct to airport, more service on major routes [Saporta Report]