Fresh from MARTA’s good performance during the recent Super Bowl, a group of transit supporters is pressing the agency to improve service for all its customers year-round.
A coalition of community groups staged a “transit equity” rally at Five Points station Monday morning, calling on MARTA to provide good service to all customers.
“If Atlanta can move a million people around (during the Super Bowl), why can’t we do that year-round?” asked the Rev. Gerald Durley of Providence Missionary Baptist Church.
More than two dozen people attended the rally. Several speakers expressed their support for the upcoming Gwinnett County MARTA referendum and for expanding transit generally.
But their most consistent message was that MARTA needs to do a better job of treating customers well, regardless of where they live. Among other things, they cited transit stations and bus stops on the south side that are dirtier or more poorly maintained than those in the northern half of metro Atlanta.
They also want to make sure south-side residents get their fair share of transit improvements. That was a recurring theme during last year’s debate about how to spend $2.7 billion for a voter-approved transit expansion in Atlanta.
Former state Rep. Virgil Fludd, MARTA’s assistant general manager for external affairs, also addressed the rally, suggesting the agency cares about the same issues.
“We want to use transit as a way of uplifting communities and uplifting neighborhoods,” Fludd said.
The community groups welcomed that message, but they also challenged the agency. Deborah Scott, executive director of the group Georgia STAND-UP, said transit is a civil right that has been denied some residents for too long.
“We have rights we haven’t been able to cash in on,” Scott said.