Monday, September 29, 2014

Marta CEO Keith Parker, the Driver Behind Public Transit’s Transformation in Atlanta -

 Keith Parker

As a daily rider of Marta, I notice and appreciate the positive changes made by CEO Parker and also know that a portion of the Kudos being given needs to go to the Georgia Legislative MARTOC Committee, including Chairman Mike Jacobs, Vice Chairman Fran Millar and representative Tom Taylor.

Governing Magazine - Oct 2014
Keith Parker took over one of the most beleaguered and least loved transit systems in America -- and almost instantly reversed its course.

Keith Parker had run large-scale transit operations in Charlotte and San Antonio, but he realized from the start that Atlanta would be his toughest assignment yet.

The beleaguered Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) is the ninth-largest enterprise of its kind in the country. But ever since its beginnings in the early 1970s, it has been ensnared in racial, regional and partisan acrimony. Georgia’s state legislators have never been shy to criticize or to micromanage the agency, which they have denounced as inefficient and unreliable. Originally envisioned as a five-county system, MARTA has never been able to expand beyond its initial two counties in the center of the Atlanta metropolis.

Much of MARTA’s problem has always been its unorthodox funding mechanism. Most of the nation’s public transit agencies get about a quarter of their income from state funds, but MARTA doesn’t get any operating money at all from the state of Georgia. Its budget is heavily dependent on local sales taxes, leaving the system especially vulnerable to economic downturns. During the Great Recession, MARTA took a cleaver to its operating expenses. A third of its bus routes were eliminated. Wait times between trains hit 15 minutes. Bathrooms in most stations were closed. Along with reduced services, passengers saw fares rise more than 40 percent. Customers were incensed. Ridership dropped by a sixth in the four years before Parker arrived.

Read the rest here

1 comment:

Elroy said...

Fascinating article and a great example of governing beyond political motivations.