It looks like MARTA is engaging in more cost-cutting measures. The transit service will be laying off 371 workers from its para-transit Mobility operation which serves disabled Atlantans and seniors, according to Atlanta Business Chronicle. Workers, service recipients and the Amalgamated Transportation Union have been battling MARTA on privatization since 2014.
MARTA officials announced their most recent plan to privatize parts of the Mobility service back in November. MARTA would retain ownership of the facilities, vehicles and would still manage the reservation and customer services, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The private company, MV Transportation, would be responsible for fleet maintenance and operation.
MARTA's on-time performance is hovering at just above 80 percent and is facing renewed legal action as a result. The contract with MV stipulates on-time performance cannot dip below 90 percent.
The change could save the MARTA $1 million to $2 million per year. The transit service has outsourced other parts of its operation before. That and other changes have saved $100 million over the last three years, according to a study by HNTB. Those savings have taken MARTA from a budget deficit to a plentiful surplus under the guidance of CEO Keith Parker. Parker and the MARTA board hope the on-paper turnaround will go a long way toward bringing legislative support for a proposed expansion of rail services.
MV has said they plan to hire as many MARTA employees as they can to ease the transition since they are already familiar with the fleet and operation. The changes take effect March 25th.
· MARTA to lay off 371 workers [Biz Chron]
· MARTA to privatize paratransit service [AJC}
· Residents Petition Legislature to Get MARTA Line Built [Curbed]
· Here Now, New Visuals for 4 MARTA Transit Developments [Curbed]
· Study: Atlanta Needs to Step Up its Transit Game Now [Curbed]