MARTA approves station names, property purchases for Atlanta transit line

MARTA continues to solidify its plans for metro Atlanta’s first bus rapid transit line.

Last week the agency’s board of directors approved the names of 12 stations on the Summerhill transit line in Atlanta. It also approved plans to acquire nearly $600,000 worth of property needed to build the line — small portions of 54 parcels.

Though formal construction won’t start until spring, Atlanta will begin relocating utilities along the line next month. When it opens in 2025, the Summerhill line would be the first segment of what could become an extensive regional bus rapid transit network.

Bus rapid transit features amenities usually associated with rail lines. The idea is to provide service that’s faster than regular local bus service.

Passengers board at stations, pay before they board and can board at the front and rear buses. The buses travel mostly in exclusive lanes — about 85% of the 4.8-mile round-trip Summerhill line will be in bus-only lanes.

Credit: Courtesy of MARTA

Credit: Courtesy of MARTA

Abhay Joshi, MARTA’s director of construction management, said the features will “be very similar to our rail transportation experience.”

The Summerhill line would stretch along Hank Aaron Drive/Capitol Avenue from the Atlanta Beltline to downtown. It would stop within walking distance — though not at — MARTA’s Georgia State University, Five Points and Garnett rail stations.

The line would feature articulated electric buses that run every 10 to 15 minutes. The service would operate from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays.

The Summerhill line will be the region’s first bus rapid transit line, but it won’t be the last. MARTA recently announced plans to build a similar line along Campbellton Road in southwest Atlanta, and it’s considering bus rapid transit for the Clifton Corridor from Lindbergh station to the Emory University area.

MARTA also plans bus rapid transit lines in Clayton County and along Ga. 400 in north Fulton County. Other bus rapid transit lines are planned for the top half of the Perimeter and in Gwinnett County.

Summerhill station names

The names of 12 stations along the Summerhill bus rapid transit line, from north to south, counterclockwise: Five Points, South Downtown, City Hall, Memorial at Trinity, Convocation Center, Summerhill, Ormond Street, Peoplestown, Carver, Capitol Gateway, Georgia State, Fulton County Government Center.