Atlanta Transit Could Go Fare-Free

The city has tasked the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority with evaluating the feasibility of eliminating transit fares.

August 5, 2022, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


MARTA Station

ReanC / Shutterstock

Atlanta could join the ranks of cities experimenting with fare-free transit, pending the results of a study commissioned by the city council in June, reports J.D. Capelouto in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The study will only focus on the impact of fare-free MARTA within Atlanta city limits, but [Councilman Michael Julian Bond] hopes neighboring cities and counties that have MARTA service could eventually contribute to an expanded fare-free program.”

The ordinance passed by the city council requests information on:

  • The cost of providing fare-free transit in the city
  • The funding streams available to the city and MARTA
  • A timeline for implementation
  • A cost analysis of other cities in the United States that offer fare-free transit
  • Partnerships that the city can establish to bolster the effort

This wouldn’t be MARTA’s first foray into free fares. “When the pandemic first hit, the agency waived bus fares, asking passengers to board from the back door to reduce contact with drivers. While it didn’t reach pre-COVID levels, bus ridership increased throughout that period, and sharply decreased when the fares were reinstated, MARTA data shows.”

“Still, the idea could face a number of hurdles, primarily surrounding how MARTA or the city would make up for a millions in lost fare revenue” and maintain or improve service frequency, which many riders say matters more than cost. 

Thursday, August 4, 2022 in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A image of the World's Columbian Exposition overlayed with a picture of Keanu Reeves in the rain from the movie Point Break.

Keanu Reeves Set to Play Daniel Burnham in ‘The Devil in the White City’

Planning is going to get a new level of star power as a limited series adaptation of The Devil in the White City gets ready for television screens in 2024.

August 8, 2022 - Reel Chicago

View from middle of street in downtown Telluride, Colorado with mountains in background

Marrying Urban Identity and Economic Prosperity

A new book posits that truly successful communities have a strong economic base and a firmly rooted sense of place.

August 5, 2022 - Governing

Los Angeles Downtown Historic Core

Surveying the Rising Trend of Office-to-Residential Conversions

With office vacancies climbing and a stubborn supply crunch driving up the cost of housing, some downtowns have emerged at the forefront of a new wave of adaptive reuse.

August 2, 2022 - CoStar Group News

U.S> Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg delivers a speech in front of a bridge in Washington, D.C. The podium where he stands has a sign that reads: "Building a Better America."

$2.2 Billion in RAISE Grant Funding Announced for Transportation Projects

The Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) competitive grant program, supersized by the federal infrastructure bill in 2021, just announced a new round of funding.

August 11 - U.S. Department Of Transportation

Aerial view of Salida, Colorado with mountains in background

Colorado Workers Squeezed by Housing Crisis

In Colorado’s booming resort towns, even sleeping in your car has become an unaffordable luxury.

August 11 - Denver Post

An aerial view of Los Angeles at dawn, with Westlake and MacArthur Park in the foreground and Downtown Los Angeles in the background.

Did L.A.’s Supportive Housing Bond Fail?

Six years after Prop HHH was passed, the fund appears to be delivering on its housing construction goals in the 10-year timeline. But the measure is being routinely criticized on all sides.

August 11 - Shelterforce Magazine

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.