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Old 09-19-2012, 09:30 AM
 
Location: Decatur, GA
4,920 posts, read 3,734,918 times
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I was trying to imply that I now love MARTA after having actually ridden it once and that my previous declarations of "world's worst transit system" were unfounded and inaccurate. I fully agree that MARTA is a top transit system, way above even more expansive systems.
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:26 AM
 
3,209 posts, read 4,525,854 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MDAllstar View Post
Did Marta cut service to buses and trains? I thought it was just buses. I ask that because Marta rail ridership is down even though gas prices are up. Anybody have any idea why rail ridership would be falling more than bus ridership? I can understand bus ridership being down, but why would rail ridership drop?

Q2 2012 Marta Rail = 223,800 daily riders -4.14% YTD
Q2 2012 Marta Bus = 190,300 daily riders -1.29% YTD

http://www.apta.com/resources/statis...rship-APTA.pdf
MARTA fares increase on Sunday, add cash to your Breeze cards today | Atlanta News & Opinion Blog | Fresh Loaf | Creative Loafing Atlanta

Quote:
A one-way ride on MARTA buses and trains will increase to $2.50. A monthly pass will cost $90. Here's MARTA's rundown of all the new fares.
Article date: September 30, 2011

The monthly pass jumping from $68 to $95 (the article is incorrect) definitely hit ridership. I think a whole lot more people just load their cards with trips now, and thus face a disincentive to ride MARTA in marginal situations (ie for reasons other than commuting). This is consistent with buses being hit less hard than rail: rail tends to have more choice riders. Choice riders choose MARTA less when the fare goes up.

Notably, MARTA once again faces a deficit, and will probably need to do even more to shore up its finances.
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:46 AM
 
9,602 posts, read 10,971,888 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by testa50 View Post
MARTA fares increase on Sunday, add cash to your Breeze cards today | Atlanta News & Opinion Blog | Fresh Loaf | Creative Loafing Atlanta


Article date: September 30, 2011

The monthly pass jumping from $68 to $95 (the article is incorrect) definitely hit ridership. I think a whole lot more people just load their cards with trips now, and thus face a disincentive to ride MARTA in marginal situations (ie for reasons other than commuting). This is consistent with buses being hit less hard than rail: rail tends to have more choice riders. Choice riders choose MARTA less when the fare goes up.

Notably, MARTA once again faces a deficit, and will probably need to do even more to shore up its finances.

I have often wondered what rail agencies plan for when the drop in ridership causes revenue to be less than expected. If you raise fares and people opt out of riding the train because of it, how do you gain the revenue needed? It's really a lose-lose situation.
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:49 AM
 
9,602 posts, read 10,971,888 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonygeorgia View Post
It's not fair to only post the Q2 stats. That's like only posting the murder rate in Chicago during the winter

Well, I only posted this to ask the question because I noticed rail ridership fell a lot more than bus ridership which I thought would have been the other way around.
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:02 AM
 
3,209 posts, read 4,525,854 times
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Originally Posted by MDAllstar View Post
I have often wondered what rail agencies plan for when the drop in ridership causes revenue to be less than expected. If you raise fares and people opt out of riding the train because of it, how do you gain the revenue needed? It's really a lose-lose situation.
Well, we're seeing ridership go down 2-3% overall, which probably means the 25-40% fare increases probably raised significant revenue for MARTA. But probably the most affected group was people who pay the full fare (rather than senior, disabled, etc discounts), so the revenue was probably disproportionately affected by full-paying riders leaving the system. Still, I'm sure revenue has gone up substantially (the extra revenue is still just a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of MARTA).

In other news, KPMG just completed an audit of MARTA and found that outsourcing numerous tasks could result in much larger savings. Really hope MARTA's new boss gets on this. The $30 extra I pay per month is marginal in the grand scheme of things, but further service degradations would make me consider buying a car again and thus ride MARTA a fraction as often.


On a side note, I think high fares for public transit don't make much economic sense, particularly in the sunbelt. Fares ought to be very low: near zero. The whole point of public transit is that you have a near-zero marginal cost for adding riders, and the capacity of a public transit system is astronomical. MARTA is capable of carrying roughly the same number of passengers as the Downtown Connector (3 minute headways + ~800 passengers/train = 16,000 pax/hour per direction). If you want to see real reductions in traffic, make public transit free or nearly free, thus giving drivers a very high marginal penalty for driving. People will benefit whether they ride MARTA or not. It would require probably half a penny of sales tax in the two core counties to make up for the lost revenue; another half penny could restore MARTA to full functionality and probably pay for expansions (any business process outsourcing on top of that would be icing on the cake). IMO all of this would have a much larger positive impact (much more ridership gain, much more traffic avoidance) than TSPLOST could possibly have ever had (in the two counties which pay for/use MARTA).

Generally the Sunbelt transit outlook should be oriented towards low/no fare projects, rather than trying to emulate Europe/Boswash/East Asia. Those places have a mix of inherent transit friendliness (density, extensive existing systems), expensive car ownership, and inherent car unfriendliness (little to no parking, poor roadway infrastructure). We'll never have any of these things to as great an extent. It's a different ballgame down here, and things need to be priced accordingly. Pretending we are NYC will never work.
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Old 09-25-2012, 12:21 PM
 
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Good observations as always, testa.
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Old 09-25-2012, 12:49 PM
 
9,602 posts, read 10,971,888 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by testa50 View Post
Well, we're seeing ridership go down 2-3% overall, which probably means the 25-40% fare increases probably raised significant revenue for MARTA. But probably the most affected group was people who pay the full fare (rather than senior, disabled, etc discounts), so the revenue was probably disproportionately affected by full-paying riders leaving the system. Still, I'm sure revenue has gone up substantially (the extra revenue is still just a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of MARTA).

In other news, KPMG just completed an audit of MARTA and found that outsourcing numerous tasks could result in much larger savings. Really hope MARTA's new boss gets on this. The $30 extra I pay per month is marginal in the grand scheme of things, but further service degradations would make me consider buying a car again and thus ride MARTA a fraction as often.


On a side note, I think high fares for public transit don't make much economic sense, particularly in the sunbelt. Fares ought to be very low: near zero. The whole point of public transit is that you have a near-zero marginal cost for adding riders, and the capacity of a public transit system is astronomical. MARTA is capable of carrying roughly the same number of passengers as the Downtown Connector (3 minute headways + ~800 passengers/train = 16,000 pax/hour per direction). If you want to see real reductions in traffic, make public transit free or nearly free, thus giving drivers a very high marginal penalty for driving. People will benefit whether they ride MARTA or not. It would require probably half a penny of sales tax in the two core counties to make up for the lost revenue; another half penny could restore MARTA to full functionality and probably pay for expansions (any business process outsourcing on top of that would be icing on the cake). IMO all of this would have a much larger positive impact (much more ridership gain, much more traffic avoidance) than TSPLOST could possibly have ever had (in the two counties which pay for/use MARTA).

Generally the Sunbelt transit outlook should be oriented towards low/no fare projects, rather than trying to emulate Europe/Boswash/East Asia. Those places have a mix of inherent transit friendliness (density, extensive existing systems), expensive car ownership, and inherent car unfriendliness (little to no parking, poor roadway infrastructure). We'll never have any of these things to as great an extent. It's a different ballgame down here, and things need to be priced accordingly. Pretending we are NYC will never work.

How would transit be funded with no fare? Did you mean using taxes only?
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Old 09-25-2012, 01:53 PM
 
3,209 posts, read 4,525,854 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MDAllstar View Post
How would transit be funded with no fare? Did you mean using taxes only?
Only taxes and non-fare revenue. Some agencies have a 10-20% ratio (notably Miami and Dallas). Why not just make it 0%?

It wouldn't really require that much additional funding (esp if your fare recovery is so low in the first place), and it would save the costs of collections (I inferred from the KPMG report MARTA has 150 FTEs devoted to "revenue collection"--millions of dollars in payroll, in other words, apparently goes to collecting the fares themselves).

An additional 1% sales tax in Fulton and Dekalb would increase MARTA's funding by about $300 million/year. It's fare revenue is an additional $115 million (these two numbers are almost MARTA's entire budget). In other words, you could make MARTA free with a 0.5% extra sales tax, or you could enact a full extra percent and provide long term money for expansion (you'd definitely need more parking garages if it were free--haha).

Then you'd see a big bump in ridership, and most likely a reduction in traffic too. Effects would be immediate, unlike T-SPLOST.

Separately, MARTA definitely needs to make drastic improvements to its back office, which could save many millions of dollars per year.

Also, I looked up the additional revenue from the fare increase. $4 million. Big whoop.
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Old 09-25-2012, 04:20 PM
 
Location: Kirkwood
22,247 posts, read 16,294,250 times
Reputation: 4924
Take the state money given to GRTA and combine MARTA and GRTA, no need for duplicate agencies. Force Gwinnett, Cobb, and Clayton Counties to pay 1% MARTA sales tax, absorbing their crappy transit systems into a truly regional agency.
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Old 09-25-2012, 05:51 PM
 
Location: Mableton, GA USA (NW Atlanta suburb, 4 miles OTP)
11,319 posts, read 21,963,020 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cqholt View Post
Take the state money given to GRTA and combine MARTA and GRTA, no need for duplicate agencies. Force Gwinnett, Cobb, and Clayton Counties to pay 1% MARTA sales tax, absorbing their crappy transit systems into a truly regional agency.
Good luck with that.
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