MARTA Changes Strategy on Clayton County Expansion, Opts for Bus Rapid Transit

The agency says BRT will cost less, be completed faster, and provide more frequent service than the commuter rail option.

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November 21, 2022, 7:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


A MARTA bus in Atlanta, Georgia. | Kristain Baty / Shutterstock

A Mass Transit staff report details the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority’s (MARTA) decision to choose bus rapid transit (BRT) over commuter rail for the State Route 54 extension of its service into Clayton County.

According to the report, “The planned 22-mile BRT on State Route 54 will include 17 proposed stops and connect East Point rail station to Mountain View, Forest Park, Clayton State University, Jonesboro, the Clayton County Justice Center and Lovejoy in Clayton and East Point and Hapeville in Fulton County.” The report explains, “MARTA explains the commuter rail option encountered a variety of obstacles with right-of-way acquisition, environmental and historical resource concerns, along with a ballooning cost estimate.”

As MARTA General Manager and CEO Collie Greenwood stated, “We recently traveled to Indianapolis with the Clayton delegation and saw first-hand the benefits of BRT and how it makes more sense for this transit corridor and will provide faster, more frequent service at a much lower cost.” The report adds that the BRT line “can be built in half the time as that of commuter rail and once completed operates at a higher frequency, providing service all day rather than just during peak commute times.”

Officials also say BRT will offer more frequent, two-way service all day long, as opposed to one-way service that would have been offered by commuter rail.

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