Local

Revised MARTA Fare Policy Could Mean Ride Price Increase

Starting Saturday, the new silver Breeze cards will cost $2. MARTA has proposed a revised fare policy that may open the door to a fare increase.
Starting Saturday, the new silver Breeze cards will cost $2. MARTA has proposed a revised fare policy that may open the door to a fare increase.
Credit Alison Guillory / WABE

Beginning Saturday, Breeze Cards coming out of MARTA machines will be silver and not blue. And at $2, they will cost double the price. Something that may also jump in price is the cost of a ride.

MARTA held the final public meeting required to update its fare policy Thursday night at the Dekalb County government building in downtown Decatur. When this new revised fare policy is adopted, MARTA’s board of directors may elect to increase fares.

“At some point, the board may consider raising fares and that’s a possibility, but we want to make sure that if and when that process does unfold at some point, that it doesn’t have a disproportionate impact on low-income and minority communities,” MARTA spokesman Lyle Harris said.  

The last time MARTA increased fares was in 2011. That is when the cost of a ride went from $2.00 to $2.50. The proposed fare policy document deletes the current base fare amount of $2.50 and sets a price range for certain types of passes like the weekly and monthly pass. 

“We have to have a range to give the board a maximum amount of flexibility to make any changes they might deem necessary to maintain the financial sustainability of the system without doing harm to those who use the system,” Harris said.

Harris said the board of directors, which has its next meeting in February, may decide to increase fares to keep MARTA financially sustainable. But before any fare increase is approved, MARTA is required to hold another series of public meetings.

Harris said the cost of the card is doubling because the new card includes a chip to make it more secure from hacking. The current blue Breeze cards will be valid until July 2017. While the blue Breeze cards had a 10 year limit before they expired, the new silver cards will expire after three years.