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MARTA Ridership Like the I-85 Collapse Never Happened

The I-85 bridge collapse forced many people living and working in and around Atlanta to make new transportation choices. Now, just months later, the region is back to business as usual.
July 10, 2017, 8am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Atlanta
Matt Conrod

Michael Kahn reports on the disappointing results of the Atlanta region's experiment with public transit in the wake of the closure of I-85 following a fire and the collapse of a bridge along the highway in April.

Many saw the I-85 temporary demise "as a chance to hook the masses on MARTA," writes Kahn, "and an initial jump of ridership by 25-percent looked promising." As detailed in a post by Joe Cortright, the region adapted well to the reduced transportation capacity, and traffic found a way to balance out.

But those gains in alternative transportation were short-lived, as evidenced by the story of a July 4 snafu that delayed trains and left holiday travelers fuming. Buried in that article by Doug Richards is the news that ridership on MARTA has returned to pre-collapse levels.

Both writers note that frequent service interruptions aren't likely to inspire hordes of new riders to adopt public transit, although the short duration of the I-85 closure also probably didn't force that many riders to make public transit a routine.

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Published on Friday, July 7, 2017 in Curbed Atlanta
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