Hundreds of stranded commuters waited outside MARTA stations in the biting cold Friday evening after the North Avenue station was shut down due to someone being hit and killed by a train.
The incident prompted nearby roads to close and bus bridges to be set up between the Peachtree Center and Arts Center stations, affecting both the Gold and Red lines for about five hours.
Many commuters were stuck after a long week at work or school. Others were scrambling to get to nighttime jobs or after-work plans.
“Anybody hiring, because I’m going to need a job after this,” one man shouted into the crowd outside the Peachtree Center station.
Several buses that were part of the MARTA bus bridge between stations arrived full and passed on by the Peachtree Center station.
Atlanta Fire Rescue and MARTA police blocked off the North Avenue station after a woman “jumped in front of a moving train,” MARTA police Cpl. Brian Lauda said. No other information was provided, but Lauda said his agency is investigating the death.
During the North Avenue station closure, trains continued to run from the Airport station to Peachtree Center station and from the Arts Center station to the North Springs and Doraville stations. However, the number of commuters quickly overwhelmed the bus bridges.
Kimberly Clark of Lawrenceville arrived at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Friday afternoon after vacationing in the balmy Bahamas. Clark, wearing flip-flops and a thin sweater, was caught off guard by the cold. She was traveling on a Gold line train when she and other passengers were told by MARTA officials to exit at Peachtree Center.
“I just came from the Bahamas and I’m not dressed right,” she said. “I’m so cold.”
Some stranded MARTA riders fed up waiting on buses decided to walk two miles to the Arts Center station, where northbound train service resumed. Others searched for rides from cabs or with Uber but complained of surge pricing.
“This is the second time this has happened to me,” said Kayla Taylor, who works as a receptionist at Georgia State University and was on her way home to Sandy Springs. She said an incident on the north-south tracks left her stranded for hours a few months ago.
“I think MARTA has to put in a better plan to handle emergencies,” Taylor said. “We are paying customers.”
About 9 p.m., full rail service was restored at all of the affected stations.
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