takin’ marta? you are climbing stairs

as all of you know, i am just about a daily marta commuter. and a few weeks ago, i started noticing that more and more escalators were going offline. now, just about every marta escalator is out. the reason: apparently marta was the victim of fraud and mismanagement perpetrated by a contractor.

i am sure this will do wonders for ridership. i know how it goes, someone will ride marta for the first time, have to climb some stairs and say “f it” my car is better than this exercise thing.

poor marta, it seems they just can’t win for losing.

it’s easy to just point the finger and marta, shake your head and say, “man, they can’t run anything.”

the real problem with marta, of course, is not bad management or waste. it is politics. everything about marta, from it’s board, to it’s absurd state oversight committee to it’s funding structure is political. people in atlanta complain all the time about not having a world-class transit system like dc or boston.

we really only have to look at ourselves.

4 Comments so far

  1. Adam (unregistered) on February 5th, 2010 @ 11:07 am

    I wonder about the history of this esclator contract. Was it given to someone with politicial connections? Was it given to the lowest bidder? Was it given based on race? The escalators have been in poor condition for a very long time. Why was no oversight put into place prior to 2010?

  2. karsh (unregistered) on February 5th, 2010 @ 11:55 am

    Truer words were never spoken James. Those stairs (particularly at Peachtree Center) will give you a nice little workout.

    It’s hell on the elderly and disabled though. I got stuck on a staircase at Five Points because one person coming down the steps needed help, and one person going up the steps needed help. I was thinking to myself how much this is going to suck if these escalators aren’t fixed by the time baseball season starts.

    MARTA should inspect their elevators as well. In my ten years of riding MARTA, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a permit in an elevator that hadn’t already expired.

  3. TLT (unregistered) on February 7th, 2010 @ 7:13 pm

    Okay, so I’m not imagining it. I thought that they’d just finally gotten around to getting them all serviced, but had utterly failed at staggering the outages. If people would abide by the “faster on the left, slower on the right” system on the stairs, it wouldn’t even be a big deal most of the time.

    As for ridership, any young, able-bodied person who uses having to climb a few flights of stairs as an excuse not to use transit didn’t want to use it anyway. If every elevator and escalator was in perfect working order, some loud kids, a drink spilled on the floor, a delayed train or a guy asking for change would cement his/her conviction MARTA is “inconvenient” or “dangerous.” People like that are looking for reasons not to use the system and don’t really count as potential riders.

  4. james hervey (jeherv) on February 10th, 2010 @ 11:30 am

    it’s an unfortunate situation for sure. having read a bit about this, it sounds like marta did everything right. that won’t stop people like the first commenter from using it to imply certain things. it’ll also be one more cudgel to hand the deplorable jill chambers and her ilk when marta comes asking for a funding structure change again.

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