clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Poll: Should Atlanta, like other cities, make mass transit free?

New, 109 comments

If Kansas City can do universal fare-free transit, why can’t we?

MARTA train on rails.
A one-way train ride is $2.50 today.
Curbed Atlanta

While most major metros consider mass transit to be a privilege or service, some cities treat access to trains, buses, and streetcars as, essentially, a basic human right.

A handful of cities around the country have allowed free rides on certain routes, or to specific passengers, but last year, Kansas City became the first large metro to enact a universal fare-free transit system.

Now, Fulton County officials are weighing the idea of doing the same with MARTA, according to

Ditching all fares is, of course, much easier conceived than done, and MARTA CEO Jeff Parker told the publication it's unlikely the agency will raise fees or eliminate the pay-to-ride system anytime soon.

In all likelihood, it would take powerful legislation—and a lot of lobbying—to make MARTA fare-free.

Still, Fulton County Commissioner Lee Morris argues the implications of making such a change are worth studying, according to the news outlet.

After all, MARTA's given out free rides before in order to lure more riders to its troubled streetcar system.

One sticking point: Fares account for about a third of the agency’s operating budget. So nixing them would force MARTA officials to take a hard look at how they keep their books, and likely seek outside funding.

Nevertheless, we can dream, can’t we? What say you, Atlanta?


Should riding MARTA be free?

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    (470 votes)
  • 20%
    Perhaps partially. The agency needs to make money to operate, but who wants to pay to board the Atlanta Streetcar?
    (315 votes)
  • 19%
    Maybe. A lot of moving parts would need to be studied first.
    (288 votes)
  • 28%
    No. Could you imagine how crowded and messy MARTA trains and buses would be if anyone could hop on at any time?
    (437 votes)
1510 votes total Vote Now