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To encourage transit use, MARTA will end parking validation for HQ visitors

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CEO Jeffrey Parker says the move could nudge more Atlantans toward patronizing the transit system

A MARTA train arriving at a crowded platform at Five Points Station.
Who needs validated parking when there’s MARTA?

Visitors to MARTA’s headquarters today might scratch their heads at the notion that people who drive there are rewarded with free parking, while those who take the train must pay for that service.

Wouldn’t it make sense for the city’s transit authority to incentivize transit use?

Well, those head-scratchers are in luck. Thanks to some harrumphing on social media, MARTA CEO Jeffrey Parker declared Tuesday the agency would stop subsidizing parking for HQ visitors.

Per his Twitter announcement: “In our efforts to create a more connected and sustainable Atlanta, MARTA will no longer validate parking at our headquarters at Lindbergh Station beginning September 1. We want to encourage all our guests to take MARTA.”

And why wouldn’t they ride the train? The Lindbergh station is maybe 100 feet from the front stoop of MARTA’s north Atlanta home base.

The urbanists over at ThreadATL were quick to praise the move, noting it’s one less way that officials “hinder transit from truly competing with driving in Atlanta,” according to a blog post.

In a prepared statement sent to Curbed Atlanta, Parker conceded that the “longstanding practice” of subsidizing parking for visitors is “clearly at odds with our goal of encouraging more transit ridership.”

All of this was initially prompted by a tweet by someone who visited the Lindbergh HQ earlier this month.

“While entering the building, car drivers were given free parking validation while us using the train were offered nothing,” tweeted Jeff Delp, apparently a Beltline Rail Now! advocate. “Seems odd to me for a transit agency.”

Now, one can only wonder: When does the benefits package for regular rail users kick in?