MARTA is moving forward with designs for three transit projects in disparate parts of town and a high-dollar contract with a transportation company that will provide vehicles to make those projects a reality, officials said today.
MARTA’s board of directors agreed to advance the City of Atlanta and DeKalb County bus transit initiatives toward final designs. A $226 million contract with New Flyer, a company that bills itself as North America’s bus leader, was also awarded for buses that will run rapid transit and fixed routes, according to the transit agency.
Expected to deliver first are two projects in different parts of DeKalb.
The first involves a Buford Highway arterial rapid transit route—also known as ART—that’s currently served by MARTA’s busiest route in terms of ridership, Route 39. It’s a 10-mile section of bus transit that links MARTA's Lindbergh Center Station to Doraville Station via Buford Highway.
Plans advanced today by MARTA call for the ART line to begin operations in 2026. According to MARTA, changes will include “traffic signal priority for faster, more reliable service, and distinct shelters that include seating and real-time service information screens.”
On the flipside of DeKalb, MARTA moved its plans for the South DeKalb Transit Hub a step closer to final designs, agreeing to begin the process of seeking firms capable of designing the system. MARTA expects the project to cost $37 million and open sometime in 2026.
The transit hub for bus-to-bus transfers calls for a covered waiting area for customers with real-time bus arrival info, seating, restrooms, and a customer service kiosk. Another component would be an area for MARTA Police Department personnel, according to the transit agency.
Meanwhile, near the western fringes of Atlanta, the board approved what’s called an “amended locally preferred alternative,” or LPA, for the controversial Campbellton Corridor bus-rapid transit project.
Route changes will take the BRT alignment south of Greenbriar Mall to a flyover ramp bridging over Interstate 285 from Greenbriar Parkway to the Barge Road Park & Ride.
According to MARTA officials, the flyover will create more direct and faster access between a planned Greenbriar Mall Station and Barge Road Station, roughly cutting travel time in half compare to current bus services. The LPA includes bridges over I-285 and Highway 154 with 10-foot-wide multi-use paths, bus-only lanes, and ramps to BRT stations.
MARTA expects the flyover to cost between $15 and $25 million. It’s projected to open in 2028 as part of Tier 1 projects on MARTA’s scaled-back outlook for More MARTA sales tax-funded expansions.
As for the $226 million contract pertaining to new buses, MARTA says the five-year deal with New Flyer will provide the agency with 198 vehicles. Sixty-three of those will be electric buses, with the remaining 135 buses powered by compressed natural gas.
MARTA’s first six, 60-foot articulated electric buses are scheduled to arrive in 2024. They’ll be deployed in Peoplestown, Summerhill, and downtown for the metro’s first BRT line when it opens in 2025, according to MARTA.
Twelve more of the 60-foot buses will be used on BRT routes on Campbellton Road and Clayton Southlake, per MARTA officials.
MARTA’s full board is expected to vote on the projects and bus contract at its next monthly meeting August 10.
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