Atlanta’s looping, underutilized transit inchworm officially has a new operator.
As of Sunday, MARTA took control of the Atlanta Streetcar, the city’s nascent light rail system that’s been plagued by poor ridership and limited neighborhood connectivity—it’s currently just a 2.7-mile downtown circuit—since it opened in late 2014.
Then-Mayor Kasim Reed announced the takeover plan last summer, noting that seizing the streetcar project would help the struggling system grow into something people will want to use, thanks to the $2.6 billion, TSPLOST-funded MARTA expansion program.
One of the biggest goals of the streetcar system expansion, Reed said then, would be linking the existing light rail lines to the Beltline.
Hopping on Atlanta’s tiny trolley system will still cost $1, as City Councilman Michael Bond noted in a recent tweet.
For Immediate Release— Michael Julian Bond (@Michael_J_Bond) June 25, 2018
June 22, 2018
MARTA To Maintain $1 Atlanta Streetcar Fare Policy pic.twitter.com/MzKZJrlisV
In May, the City of Atlanta and MARTA unveiled that, among other goals they have for TSPLOST cash, adding 21 miles of light rail is a top priority—which left activists from Beltline Transit Now! wondering what happened to promises of light rail along the multi-use trail.
Currently a four-car, 12-stop system, the streetcar will now be run by MARTA’s new Office of Light Rail Operations.