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Old 09-24-2015, 07:54 AM
 
Location: Atlanta
2,852 posts, read 2,660,618 times
Reputation: 1411

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Quote:
Originally Posted by primaltech View Post
How do you think we could make the MARTA bus more popular, more useful, and higher ridership in most of metro ATL? Among all people of all colors and walks of life and etc.

As far as my ideas, I feel like if they ditched the current route model, and replaced it with a bunch of simple express routes, connecting 1 designated bus station somewhere (like a dense job center area or a park&ride or a sports stadium), to a train station, with no other stops, that would get a lot more people to ride it daily.

And maybe in combo also with some small scope, limited stop, express circulator loop routes, like a circle loop that goes from Dunwoody station for example, with only 3 or 4 key stops at the main large office buildings in the area, then right back to the station. And those stops would not just be a post in the ground with a sign on it, but very designated, with enhanced shelter and seating and lighting.

What are your thoughts on how the game could be majorly changed with the MARTA bus? How to get people to get over the whole negative stigma that is attached to it for many?

Including also if you have any thoughts on how/if designated transit lanes along the roads and streets could work (and be enforced), and how to convince people and the GDOT that we should implement such a system.
I don't think re-branding would help in any way. I agree that rethinking how the current route model is in order including the timing of transfers would be a good move.

I don't see why having more express routes (clearly stating that is what you're about to board) is a horrible idea, but you need both. If I rode one and my destination was miles back, it would be a long time before I set foot on a bus again. (Now, I got to walk across what's probably the worst congested street ever to go back to where I started from - not a fun do-over.)

As an infrequent rider, these are things that would make me more likely to ride:
  • Fix the speakers or stop mumbling, and that is mostly about the trains. Blubablubabluba coming up is not helping me at all and almost sends me into a panic attack.
  • Resolve the issue with recently loaded transit cards not working on buses until you've used them on a train. I have to take a bus to get a train if I don't park at a station so how do you think that makes me feel holding up the line?
  • Expand it. How can it become popular in a place that it is not?

Perceptions can be difficult to change in a strongly car-centric environment. It's going to be be difficult to convince someone who is paying a car note for something they probably could not afford in the first place to pay additional money to use public transit instead. You've got to know your audience to be more focused about who you are addressing and cater the solutions to them.
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Old 09-24-2015, 09:24 AM
 
Location: Johns Creek area
9,588 posts, read 8,675,308 times
Reputation: 5092
Quote:
Originally Posted by cqholt View Post
MARTA hired the same company that redesigned Houston's METRO bus system, so let the professionals do their research and give them a chance to present their results.
Increased headways are great, but how to do it without spending more money?
Decrease the number of bus stops. This is good and bad, it allows buses to travel faster, but makes riders walk further. Having key stops close to destinations, like retail centers, retirement communities, schools, etc.
Signal priority. As Atlanta begins to invest it it's out dated signals how much more would it cost to add the necessary software to detect buses/streetcars for signal priority?
MARTA already has a live arrival app and majority of Americans have smartphones. Major bus stops need LED screen displaying the next arrival, but not every stop.
Also, MARTA has already started it's WiFi pilot program on buses. That is a good way to attract demand riders.
Great points, cq.
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Old 09-24-2015, 09:30 AM
 
Location: Kirkwood
22,213 posts, read 16,255,692 times
Reputation: 4924
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElleKaye View Post
I don't think re-branding would help in any way. I agree that rethinking how the current route model is in order including the timing of transfers would be a good move.

I don't see why having more express routes (clearly stating that is what you're about to board) is a horrible idea, but you need both. If I rode one and my destination was miles back, it would be a long time before I set foot on a bus again. (Now, I got to walk across what's probably the worst congested street ever to go back to where I started from - not a fun do-over.)

As an infrequent rider, these are things that would make me more likely to ride:
  • Fix the speakers or stop mumbling, and that is mostly about the trains. Blubablubabluba coming up is not helping me at all and almost sends me into a panic attack.
  • Resolve the issue with recently loaded transit cards not working on buses until you've used them on a train. I have to take a bus to get a train if I don't park at a station so how do you think that makes me feel holding up the line?
  • Expand it. How can it become popular in a place that it is not?

Perceptions can be difficult to change in a strongly car-centric environment. It's going to be be difficult to convince someone who is paying a car note for something they probably could not afford in the first place to pay additional money to use public transit instead. You've got to know your audience to be more focused about who you are addressing and cater the solutions to them.
It never does, but Cobb County seems to think repainting the buses will make an impact. Seems to me like putting lipstick on a pig.
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Old 09-24-2015, 09:58 AM
 
Location: ATLANTA
1,886 posts, read 1,185,197 times
Reputation: 1313
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElleKaye View Post
I don't think re-branding would help in any way. I agree that rethinking how the current route model is in order including the timing of transfers would be a good move.

I don't see why having more express routes (clearly stating that is what you're about to board) is a horrible idea, but you need both. If I rode one and my destination was miles back, it would be a long time before I set foot on a bus again. (Now, I got to walk across what's probably the worst congested street ever to go back to where I started from - not a fun do-over.)

As an infrequent rider, these are things that would make me more likely to ride:
  • Fix the speakers or stop mumbling, and that is mostly about the trains. Blubablubabluba coming up is not helping me at all and almost sends me into a panic attack.
  • Resolve the issue with recently loaded transit cards not working on buses until you've used them on a train. I have to take a bus to get a train if I don't park at a station so how do you think that makes me feel holding up the line?
  • Expand it. How can it become popular in a place that it is not?
Perceptions can be difficult to change in a strongly car-centric environment. It's going to be be difficult to convince someone who is paying a car note for something they probably could not afford in the first place to pay additional money to use public transit instead. You've got to know your audience to be more focused about who you are addressing and cater the solutions to them.
Agreed Agreed Agreed... I must also add i Don't think rebranding is Needed either. Even though their seems to be a lot of Controversy and rejection with MARTA in the Suburban Counties, i have to honestly say the name holds a lot of Weight around the Region, State and Country. My major issue with Marta, specificly the Bus System is Time Tables and Street Furnture/Bus Shelters and Benches. It's Nothin worse than having to stand out side waiting for a BUS on a Hot Summer day or even a Rainy Day for an Half hour to an Hour just standing waiting with no where to sit or cover from the elements. This Especially pains me when i see Senior citizens and women with children, sitting on the side of the Road with no where to sit or trying to hide behind bushes or even on a business property to get cover especially at busy stops like whats going on on the New Clayton lines. I realize Clayton County is a new addition to the system but after a while, months the whole issue starts to look some what Trashy, Literally. Not to mention the more the Shelters, the cleaner the stops because each shelter contain Trash cans at every shelter. They could even attach some benches to Bus Shelter signs with a Trash can in the Area like some parts of town. It just looks weird seeing people standing all over the place with no where to sit or cover. It has been an over all system issue but has really come to light with how slow they have been with supplying Clayton with Shelters, especially on Route 196...
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Old 09-24-2015, 11:08 AM
 
Location: Vinings
5,958 posts, read 2,942,473 times
Reputation: 3213
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElleKaye View Post
I don't think re-branding would help in any way. I agree that rethinking how the current route model is in order including the timing of transfers would be a good move.

I don't see why having more express routes (clearly stating that is what you're about to board) is a horrible idea, but you need both. If I rode one and my destination was miles back, it would be a long time before I set foot on a bus again. (Now, I got to walk across what's probably the worst congested street ever to go back to where I started from - not a fun do-over.)

As an infrequent rider, these are things that would make me more likely to ride:
  • Fix the speakers or stop mumbling, and that is mostly about the trains. Blubablubabluba coming up is not helping me at all and almost sends me into a panic attack.
  • Resolve the issue with recently loaded transit cards not working on buses until you've used them on a train. I have to take a bus to get a train if I don't park at a station so how do you think that makes me feel holding up the line?
  • Expand it. How can it become popular in a place that it is not?

Perceptions can be difficult to change in a strongly car-centric environment. It's going to be be difficult to convince someone who is paying a car note for something they probably could not afford in the first place to pay additional money to use public transit instead. You've got to know your audience to be more focused about who you are addressing and cater the solutions to them.
Yeah. I don't mean like giving them a new paint job and name, necessarily (like the new Cobb Stink). But maybe re-introducing them to a wider audience. The only thing I would change about the look of the buses is the obnoxious advertisements as mentioned earlier, they should be smaller or non-existent, or only for tasteful ads, not shady lawyers and stuff. Also I would like to see more high capacity, articulated buses.

My theory is that there should be a sense of permanence to the stops and the lines, and the system should be a Bus Rapid Transit system instead of just a regular old bus route. Even if it doesn't have dedicated bus ways. It could at least have some BRT elements. And it could have a traffic light priority system.

Like just look at Buckhead station or Civic Center station, just the surface, minus the train part- and that's what I think the (much fewer) bus stops should look like. A sheltered small structure on each side of the road, with an official name and sign, and with a row of benches, lighting, system map, kiosk on either side for Breeze card, and maybe even elevated platform for level boarding (like the Cleveland BRT system). And with a little pull-off side lane for bus only so that it doesn't hold up car traffic during the stops. Also the bus stops/stations could maybe even have some artsy designs, with each one being a little unique.

If you had them spaced correctly and at the right spots and points (dense areas and common destinations), I think people would walk or bike to them. Then you'd also have the whole 'safety in numbers' factor. A whole crowd of people waiting for the bus, just like you see at the train tunnels.

The stops would be permanent nodes of the system, that could even have transit oriented developments around them. The routes however could still be modified and adjusted and expanded as needed. And you could have multiple BRT lines that use some of the same physical stops. Like a line that follows the same stops as I mentioned above, but then goes up Roswell Rd instead of continuing on Peachtree.

Seems to me you could represent all the BRT lines and stops on the official rail map (maybe as thinner lines and smaller size dots), and that this would be the best and most cost effective way to serve parts of the whole metro. Like have a fixed MARTA station in downtown Tucker, that goes on a line down Lavista with just a few minimal stops (Northlake, North Druid Hills, etc), and ends up at Lindbergh station. Would cost a few million to do it right and nice, but nowhere near the billions it would take to build an underground rail to there.

Anyway, I'm curious to see what will come of their new study and what they will do. I really think there's so much potential, and that BRT is the right way to go.

As far as express buses, it would just be the same idea except with only 2 stops on the line. A park & ride out in the suburbs somewhere, and a train station.
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Old 09-24-2015, 11:24 AM
 
188 posts, read 122,313 times
Reputation: 139
You don't need to redesign the buses, just eliminate the horrendous unwashed bum smell on them.
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Old 09-24-2015, 01:48 PM
 
Location: Atlanta, GA
327 posts, read 239,442 times
Reputation: 276
These are some nice ideas primaltech and kudos for you (and others) for really thinking about this. I just moved to ATL from Nashville and they have a similar problem, but here it is on a much larger scale. The problem with BRT is signal priority and ROW. If you can get those two down, or solidified, everything else will fall in place.

The key to me, as a student learning this, is that it has to be 1) more attractive than riding in your car and 2) move faster than current traffic. You accomplish #1 with frequency and reliability. You accomplish #2 by giving it priority over normal traffic in every way, shape and form. Period. That's the only way BRT can succeed. MARTA also has to deal with geography and road design as many of the roads are not conducive for higher density (sidewalks, hills, forestry, etc), and it wouldn't make sense to put buses on these roads. Walker talks about that in his book (which is excellent BTW).

Re: re-branding, nah, the current look is fine. Nice to see them stick to the heritage of the 70s white buses with the new CNG buses from New Flyer while looking modern. And echoing the above, it's not the look that turns people off.

Last edited by ccdscott; 09-24-2015 at 02:03 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 09-24-2015, 07:06 PM
 
Location: Vinings
5,958 posts, read 2,942,473 times
Reputation: 3213
Thanks, ccdscott. I too would prefer a true high standard BRT that meets all the above criteria. But realistically I'd still settle for them doing something that kinda sorta resembles that, and is a lot better than the local bus route is currently.
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Old 09-24-2015, 07:47 PM
bu2
 
9,010 posts, read 5,720,117 times
Reputation: 3573
There's ROW for BRT or Express buses. Its called the Beltline.

But of course that's sacrilegious to the Beltline cult.
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Old 09-24-2015, 09:45 PM
 
Location: In your feelings
2,199 posts, read 1,498,147 times
Reputation: 2168
Quote:
Originally Posted by bu2 View Post
There's ROW for BRT or Express buses. Its called the Beltline.

But of course that's sacrilegious to the Beltline cult.
Who needs buses when you have higher-capacity, more environmentally friendly light rail.
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