Gwinnett, Fulton, Cobb County - A MARTA train pulls into the Doraville station, the end of the line. Reporter Andria Simmons rode a Gwinnett County Transit bus from the transit center in Duluth to the Doraville MARTA station, transfered to a MARTA train southbound to Arts Center Station in Atlanta then boarded Cobb County Transit Bus # 10 to the Marietta Park & Ride lot on South Marietta Parkway in Marietta. The entire journey took 2 1/2 hours.
Photo: Bob Andres / AJC
Photo: Bob Andres / AJC

MARTA to increase rail service in May

Commuters rejoice! Soon you’ll be spending less time waiting for MARTA trains and buses.

A spokeswoman for the authority said on Tuesday that increased rail service will start on Monday, May 19. During weekday peak hours (from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.), trains on the Red and Gold Lines, which extend to North Springs and to Doraville respectively, would run every 10 minutes instead of every 15 as they do now.

That means where the trains share a line from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport north to Lindbergh Center Station, trains would run every five minutes during those times.

Likewise on the Blue and Green Lines, which run to Hamilton E. Holmes and Bankhead Stations, respectively, rush-hour service would be every 10 minutes instead of 15. And where the lines share tracks, from Ashby east to Candler Park Station, trains would run every 5 minutes during those times.

Midday service on weekdays will be every 12 minutes on each of the lines, and six minutes on the trunk where the Red/Gold and Blue/Green lines merge.

Ongoing construction and infrastructure improvements will keep weekend wait times significantly longer at 20 minutes per line, and occasionally every 24 minutes. The improvements are necessary for customer safety, said Saba Long, a spokeswoman for MARTA.

Bus service will be ramped up as well starting on Saturday, May 17.

MARTA is increasing frequency on about 17 bus routes. That will amount to an additional 23 trips on weekdays, 99 trips on Saturday and 55 trips on Sunday.

“The improved economy with stabilized fuel prices makes driving alone more attractive,” said CEO and General Manager Keith Parker. “We have to make using the bus and the trains more attractive. That’s why we’re adding service and buying new buses and more technology and these sort of things.”

The proposed service changes were expected to cost about $1 million a year when MARTA first announced them in the fall. They have taken several months to implement because MARTA needed to recruit and train new drivers.

The improvements were made possible by the authority’s renewed solvency — extensive spending cuts put the agency back in the black last year for the first time in seven years — and by $11.4 million in federal funding awarded this year from a program aimed at relieving congestion and improving air quality.

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