Next week, the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority is accepting public comments on the commuter bus service system’s first major overhaul since it launched in 2004.
GRTA’s external affairs officer Matt Markham said the state transit agency is looking to add a new bus route to Perimeter Center and streamline some routes.
“Starting with one route in 2004 and growing over the course of the last decade, we got to a point where the service was built out,” Markham said. “So now we’re coming to the point where we need to look at what the next decade [will look] like and beyond.”
The commuter bus service started off with just one route in 2004 and now has more than 30 routes in the 12 Atlanta area counties where it operates.
Markham said the state transit agency began looking at how it could expand and improve service in 2014.
“We are going to be improving the way the buses move through downtown in order to get them in and out of the city,” Markham said. “To get people to the major employment centers that they need, but also have the buses on time and more reliable.”
The proposed changes call for buses to stop about every two blocks as it moves through major roads like Peachtree Center Avenue and Courtland Street in downtown and Midtown Atlanta.
“Buses were getting stuck moving through downtown, making tight turns and getting stuck at lights, and it slows them down,” Markham said. “So the idea is to have the buses move on a direct path so that way they can stick to the schedules.”
GRTA plans to reduce the cost of tickets on several routes along I-85 and I-75 north corridor by $1.
In the afternoons, it also plans to ask its nearly 9,000 daily riders to pay their fare as they exit, instead of when they get on the bus, to speed up the boarding process.
Public hearings will be held in Atlanta on March 29 and 31.