MARTA rolls out “bendy” buses, test drives a double decker

Earlier this summer, MARTA announced that it would add 18 articulated buses – also known as “bendy” buses—to its fleet. The buses were put into service on Aug. 8, and will be on the agency’s high-ridership routes throughout the metro area.

MARTA GM/CEO Keith T. Parker at the articulated bus ribbon-cutting ceremony surrounded by MARTA Board Members Dr. Rod Edmond and Mrs. Roberta Abdul-Salaam; Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell; Fulton County Commissioner Liz Hausmann; MARTA Chief Operating Officer Rich Krisak; MARTA Chief Financial Officer Gordon Hutchinson; MARTA Sr. Director Joseph Erves and MARTA customers.

MARTA GM/CEO Keith T. Parker at the articulated bus ribbon-cutting ceremony surrounded by MARTA Board Members Dr. Rod Edmond and Mrs. Roberta Abdul-Salaam; Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell; Fulton County Commissioner Liz Hausmann; MARTA Chief Operating Officer Rich Krisak; MARTA Chief Financial Officer Gordon Hutchinson; MARTA Sr. Director Joseph Erves and MARTA customers.

To help announce the roll out, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the MARTA Five Points Station. Atlanta City Council President Ceasar C. Mitchell, MARTA Board Member Dr. Roderick E. Edmond, MARTA GM/CEO Keith T. Parker, and MARTA Chief Operating Officer Rich Krisak provided remarks about the positive changes at MARTA and how adding different types of buses to the fleet would benefit riders.

The articulated buses can accommodate up to 113 passengers—by comparison, the 40-foot buses can transport about 70. As an added benefit, these compressed natural gas (CNG) buses are enabled with Wi-Fi for light web surfing and email accessibility. The Authority began implementing Wi-Fi on buses late last year. Within the next year, the system plans to have that technology on its rail cars.

The addition of the extra-capacity buses, which cost about $845,000 apiece, is just one of the many improvements that MARTA has instituted to enhance the customer riding experience.

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While MARTA continues to find ways to add to its service, the agency just finished a six-week test run of a double decker bus on several routes that have high ridership. The bus has been a big hit around the metro area, with many customers heading straight to the upper level to view Atlanta traffic from a higher elevation. The double decker, which is just shy of 14 feet high, has been positively embraced by riders, even when they learn of the $850,000+ price tag. 

The “bendy” buses were first seen during the Peachtree Road Race. MARTA did a soft launch of the buses to help runners get to and from the station. The buses were implemented into regular service on Aug. 8 and can be found on high-ridership routes. The buses can hold up to 113 customers: 53 seated + 60 standing.

The “bendy” buses were first seen during the Peachtree Road Race. MARTA did a soft launch of the buses to help runners get to and from the station. The buses were implemented into regular service on Aug. 8 and can be found on high-ridership routes. The buses can hold up to 113 customers: 53 seated + 60 standing.

MARTA understands that there is no one-size fits all solution to easing transportation woes. As such, the Authority will continue to experiment with different types of buses (electric and 30-footers, for example) to make sure the needs of customers are met.

To learn more about updates and other exciting changes coming to MARTA, connect on Instagram @MARTA_explorer; Twitter @MARTAService and Facebook at @MARTAtransit.

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