Beginning Monday, April 20, MARTA began implementing an Essential Service plan for buses that reduces the number of routes overall to allow for doubling of service on the busiest, most critical routes. The modified schedule can be viewed here. With the 40 routes and 1 new circulator service, MARTA will provide transportation to 17 hospitals, 22 urgent care facilities, 85 grocery stores and 16 job centers/industrial hubs. With those destinations in mind, the Essential Service routes also provide as much geographical coverage in MARTA's service territory as possible.
The City and MARTA understand the negative impact to bus-dependent riders, but this Essential Service plan is necessary to protect the health and safety of our customers and our employees. This plan keeps MARTA running for health care personnel and other essential workers as we continue to navigate through this public health crisis.
In addition to the bus route modifications, MARTA has installed seat blocking placards in all buses to prevent riders from sitting too close to each other and has established a Customer Hotline where customers can report an overcrowded bus. Decals near the boarding door of all buses encourage customers NOT to board a bus that has no open seats and to wait for the next bus that will be coming along, in most cases, within 10 minutes.
MARTA Police will also be patrolling buses and trains to ensure that patrons are abiding by the rules. In too many instances, riders are destroying the placards and placing other customers and our employees in jeopardy.
There is no change in current rail service or in MARTA Mobility, our door-to-door service for approved paratransit riders.