Atlanta Streetcar faces audit, ridership challenges

The Atlanta Streetcar has resolved fewer than a third of issues raised in a stinging audit last year. (BOB ANDRES/BANDRES@AJC.COM)

The Atlanta Streetcar has resolved fewer than a third of issues raised in a stinging audit last year. (BOB ANDRES/BANDRES@AJC.COM)

The Atlanta Streetcar was short-staffed. Safety and security procedures were lax. Accidents were not properly investigated or reported. Defective equipment disrupted service.

Those were among the dozens of problems identified in a stinging audit of the $99 million project. More than a year later, the city has resolved fewer than one-third of those flaws, documents obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution show.

And that isn't the only headache for the troubled streetcar, envisioned as a centerpiece of Atlanta's revitalization. Ridership fell nearly 60 percent last year after Atlanta began charging $1 to ride, federal statistics show. And the city estimates a third to a half of passengers still don't bother to pay.

Critics argue the streetcar is a failure and waste of taxpayer dollars — over budget, overhyped and underused – that should be abandoned. Instead, Atlanta plans a major expansion – a 53-mile network of streetcars and light rail that supporters say will transform the city.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution delves into the city's efforts to address the audit findings here. You can read more about the decline in ridership here.

About the Author