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Sen. Beach: Metro Transit System Should Be More "Collaborative"

A trip using three transit systems took State Sen. Brandon Beach over 3 hours to get from Kennesaw to Gwinnett County.

Screenshot by Kristal Dixon
Screenshot by Kristal Dixon
Georgia District 21 Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) last week opened the first meeting of the Senate Study Committee on Metro Atlanta Transit with a personal touch: a video of him using the region's transportation systems to travel from Kennesaw State University to the Gwinnett Arena.

Beach, along with Bernie Tokarz, a member of the Atlanta Beltline Tax Allocation District Advisory Committee, started their trip around 10:50 a.m. and rode on 3 different transit systems: Cobb Community SystemMARTA andGwinnett County Transit

The trip's purpose, Beach said in the video, was to get "acquainted" with each of the systems to see if they were "seamless." That system, Beach added, has been "very fragmented" for a long time, however. 

"For us to continue to grow as a region, we are going to have to have a transition system that's seamless and collaborative and can get from point A to point B in a quick, efficient manner," he added. 

The Cobb system only accepted exact change and did not allow riders to use debit cards to pay for the fare. However, the Cobb service was on-time, clean and the overall service was "very good," the state senator added. 

Once they reached the MARTA station, they had to purchase aBreeze card to pay to use the system and transfer to the Lindbergh MARTA Station. However, both men discovered they would have had to add more money to the Breeze card in order to get on the Gold Line so they could get to their final destination in Gwinnett. 

The MARTA system, Beach added, was also "clean" and "efficient," noting they only had to wait 10 minutes to for the next train to arrive. 

Gwinnett's bus was crowded, but once they reached the bus stop, they had to walk two blocks to the arena on Sugarloaf Parkway, putting their arrival time at 2:25 p.m. The total distance was about 58 miles, but the trip took 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Tokarz added the overall experience in all three system were positive, noting the buses and trains were clean and everything ran efficiently.

"The staff at all three systems did work together and are making our current disjointed, multiple systems work," he said. "But, it can work a lot better."

Watch the video and tell us what you think. What is your experience with riding the metro Atlanta's transit systems? What improvements could be made? Does the region have a "fragmented system?"

Phil McCall August 27, 2013 at 12:45 PM
So Senator Beach used three tax subsidized transportation modes to travel 58 miles in 210 minutes and he is surprised at what? How long did it take him to get in his car and drive home? It does not take another government study committee to understand the problem or to find another government solution. Government is the problem - if you want mass transit turn the problem and the solutions over to free enterprise; not a new layer of ineffective government.
Mark Hoffacker August 27, 2013 at 12:48 PM
Having grownup in the NYC suburbs, where the NJ Transit System ties in very well with NYC's MTA, I've always been surprised & disappointed to see how fractured, inefficient, & difficult to use the Atlanta area mass transit is. After the voting down of TSPLOST last year, we DEFINITELY need a major improvement to MARTA & the metro county transit systems.
Frank Jones August 27, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Public transportation does need to be more Unified and better funded if it is to be a success. Instead, what we have is political leadership in the various counties and the state House & Senate that don't want to work together and don't want to provide adequate funding. Further, these same people don't want to fund roads which is a key to living in Atlanta. We have one of the lowest gas taxes, but no...we can't raise taxes.

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