MARTA cuts back on some service, adds buses to Upper Riverdale/Southlake for COVID-19 distancing

How do you feel about MARTA's response to the COVID-19 crisis? E-mail robin.kemp@news-daily.com and tell us about your ride.

ATLANTA — MARTA has cut service by 30 percent because of low ridership and concerns about spreading the COVID-19 virus. Several Clayton County bus routes will run less often. Route 196, Upper Riverdale/Southlake will not see cutbacks because it is one of MARTA's busiest routes and it will run with more buses to increase social distancing.

Starting Thursday, March 26, MARTA will make "operational adjustments...to protect the health and wellness of employees as they continue providing essential transit service during the COVID-19 pandemic":

• Riders must enter and exit through the rear door, with the front door reserved for wheelchair ramp users.

• Pay your fare at the rail station--not at the driver's farebox. "Because our Breeze farebox is located at the front door, MARTA is suspending fare collection on buses. For customers transferring to and from the rail system, fares will be paid at the rail stations."

• Public restrooms at low-use rail stations will close. However, "Public restrooms will remain open at College Park, Doraville, Five Points, H.E. Holmes, Indian Creek, Lindbergh, and North Springs rail stations."

As of Monday, March 30, bus and rail service will be cut back "to address the dramatic ridership and revenue decline seen in the wake of this national health crisis."

• All bus routes will continue to run

• Most will have fewer buses

• Heavy routes will have more buses, including:

15 Candler Road

39 Buford Highway

5 Piedmont Road/Sandy Springs

121 Memorial Drive/N. Hairston Road

196: Upper Riverdale/Southlake

73: Fulton Industrial

110: Peachtree Road/Buckhead

78: Cleveland Avenue

83: Campbellton Road

89: Old National Highway

This is similar to MARTA's inclement weather plan and "prioritizes service along major arterial routes and to medical facilities. The plan also allows for weekday level bus service to essential businesses."

• Rail service will operate on a weekend schedule but will start at the regular weekday time to dovetail with bus service.

• All Red and Gold Line trains will go to the airport.

• All Green Line trains will turn back at King Memorial.

• The Mercedes-Benz/State Farm Arena/GWCC rail station will close. Trains will not stop there. MARTA will do deep cleaning, repairs and painting while the station is closed.

• The streetcar will run on a Sunday schedule.

"MARTA stands by our role as a provider of essential infrastructure," said MARTA General Manager and CEO Jeffrey Parker. "Our frontline employees are everyday heroes who drive buses, run trains, protect our customers, and clean vehicles and stations. I applaud the fortitude and resilience they show every day by coming to work, despite the anxiety and uncertainty that has become the new normal."

For updates, check digital boards and messages throughout the system, as well as these resources:

MARTA homepage: www.itsmarta.com

Twitter: @MARTASERVICE

Facebook: @MARTAtransit

Customer Care Center (404) 848-5000

Are people observing social distancing on MARTA? Are there more or fewer buses? Do you feel safe from COVID-19 while riding? Let us know what you're seeing out there. E-mail robin.kemp@news-daily.com and we might use your comments in a story.

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