Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) GM/CEO Jeffrey Parker shared a bold vision for transit at the sixth Annual State of MARTA Breakfast before a sold-out crowd of community, business, and civic leaders.
During the event, which heralds the transit agency’s four decades of combined bus and rail service, Parker declared the state of MARTA is healthy, financially stable, and ready for expansion. Recognizing that service drives ridership, he promised a renewed commitment to world-class customer service and expanding MARTA as a catalyst for economic growth, innovative approaches to mobility, and community revitalization.
In Parker’s first State of MARTA address, he challenged the crowd to rally behind a $100 billion investment in transit and technology over the next 40 years, rivaling the long-term capital plans unfolding in peer cities such as Los Angeles, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
Parker said we need a “moonshot for transit,” to ensure metro Atlanta’s growth as a world-class region.
“The greater Atlanta region is projected to grow in population by 50 percent over the next 30 years. That’s essentially adding Denver’s current population to the metro region,” said Parker. “We have to make bold decisions now that include a landmark investment in our transit network to fund innovative solutions for our traffic woes and renew our commitment to future generations.”
In addition, Parker announced several initiatives MARTA is undertaking, including:
- Establishing a new Rider Advisory Council to provide customers with a formal voice to make meaningful improvements to the transit system.
- Hiring a chief customer experience officer that represents the customer internally and influences what we do and how we do it.
- Launching a multi-year initiative to enhance and overhaul all 38 MARTA stations through a comprehensive renovation and enhancement program.
- Ensuring innovative and integrated transit-oriented development at stations that support jurisdictional priorities around economic development, workforce housing, and community engagement.
- Implementing a comprehensive training strategy for frontline employees and management to improve customer service.
- Creating a station manager career track for frontline employees who deal directly with customers.
The event was co-hosted by the Council for Quality Growth, a not-for-profit trade association that works to ensure the metro Atlanta region’s regulatory environment supports quality growth and development.