Cobb County is looking to add a new express route from Kennesaw to Midtown Atlanta.
On Tuesday night, transportation officials updated Cobb County Board of Commissioners about Cobb County Transit Bus Route 10X, which would reduce a two-hour trip to 90 minutes.
Eric Meyer, Cobb County Department of Transportation’s planning division manager, said an express bus route would relieve overcrowding and let riders track the new buses.
“We know that millennials, more than most generations, are driving less, taking transit more and they’re married to their cellphones, so we’re looking at new commuter-style buses with free Wi-Fi, phone chargers and real-time bus location information,” Meyer said.
He said the route would skip most of the 70 local stops on the current bus route and he hopes riders will also be able to purchase tickets using their phones.
If Cobb County Commissioners approve the route early next year, service could begin in 2017, Meyer said. Cobb DOT is still working on the number of buses to request and how frequent the service would be.
The idea has been in the planning stages for more than a year, but the original idea came from a study by the city of Marietta and students at Southern Polytechnic University, which is now part of Kennesaw State University.
“The students at the time, they were interested in getting to the schools in downtown and Midtown and SCAD. Some of them were cross enrolled,” Meyer said. “Also who doesn’t like to have fun in Midtown?”
While there’s no estimate of the project cost and how many buses would be purchased, Cobb DOT will use a $1.6 million grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission to purchase the new buses.
Cobb County also has a separate $494 million Bus Rapid Transit project still under discussion.
If Cobb County voters approve the Bus Rapid Transit plan in a special referendum, Meyer said it would work in conjunction with express Bus Route 10X.
“You still have your express service to downtown and local busses, but Bus Rapid Transit would provide more of a rail experience up and down the Cobb Parkway corridor all the way to Midtown,” Meyer said.
The bus would pass by the new Braves stadium on its way from Kennesaw State University to Midtown Atlanta. To skip all the traffic, it would have its own dedicated lane on Highway 41.