From the AJC.com:
Come fall, MARTA will be a changed system.
In budget cuts the agency’s board approved unanimously Monday, 40 bus routes are going away. Trains will add wait times up to five minutes more each. Bathrooms will close to the public at 29 stations across the system. This will be the last year for shuttles to Braves games and the Lakewood Amphitheatre.
For the bus routes that do survive, there will often be longer rides because of detours to pick up stretches from eliminated routes. Altogether bus and rail service will decline by more than 10 percent.
MARTA CEO Beverly Scott called it “what I would venture to say was the most difficult budget this agency and this board has ever had to face.”
In addition, more than 300 MARTA employees will lose their jobs, starting Tuesday. Between them and vacant positions, MARTA’s workforce is shrinking by 14 percent. Two of MARTA’s four ride stores are closing, at Lenox and Lindbergh stations. Customer call center hours are cutting back, and there will be fewer agents at stations.
On weekends, trains will start at 6 a.m., not at 4:45 a.m.
MARTA receives much of its operating revenue from a sales tax levied in Fulton and DeKalb counties, and those revenues have declined in the sour economy.
The cuts approved Monday, however, are only half as bad as those proposed earlier this year. MARTA has scaled back the slicing a number of times: As early as a month ago it was planning to close all bathrooms but those at Five Points station. Now it intends to leave nine open, at some end-of-the-line and transfer stations. A small amount of bus and train service is being restored too.
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