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MARTA Board of Directors Approves FY 2012 Operating and Capital Budgets

The MARTA Board of Directors today voted to approve its Fiscal Year 2012 Operating and Capital Budgets which include a base fare increase from $2 to $2.50, some bus service improvements, system-wide security enhancements and safety and state-of-good-repair initiatives.  The Board adopted an Operating Budget of $413.76 million, a Capital Budget totaling $185.5 million and $143.7 million in debt service. 

“This has been a very difficult decision for the Board because, as a service based industry, we do not want to make changes that have a negative impact on our customers,” said MARTA Board Chairman Jim Durrett. “Unfortunately, the economic downturn has taken its toll on MARTA’s finances, and with the cost of doing business continuing to go up, a fare increase is required in order to maintain current bus and rail service levels for our customers.”

Chairman Durrett went on to say that the MARTA Board has worked to reduce internal costs - cutting $100 million from its budget over the past three years – and raise additional revenues through innovative vending and advertising programs.

“We commit to our customers that our available resources will be focused on providing top quality transit service that is safe and customer-focused,” said Chairman Durrett.  “As we move forward, we ask our customers to work with us to secure a new dedicated and reliable source of funding so that we can improve and expand transit service in this region.”

After hearing from more than 260 community members during the public hearing and comment process, the MARTA Board adopted a budget focused on stabilizing MARTA’s financial condition and maintaining current service levels. Along with the base fare change, the cost of weekly and monthly passes will increase. MARTA will also continue to stagger increases for Mobility base fare, reduced fare and Mobility passes based on the previous FY 2010 base fare increase. Mobility base fare, reduced fare and Mobility passes will not be impacted by the FY 2012 base fare increase. Fare changes will be implemented on October 2, 2011. (See chart below.)

The approved bus service enhancements on routes 3, 25, 50, 51, 99, and 181 will take effect September 24, 2011. 

In addition, internal cost cutting measures were approved. For the fourth year in a row, non-represented and represented employees will not receive annual merit or wage increases.  

For more information about the FY 2012 budget, please visit or call 404-848-5000. (An FAQ is included below.)

Fare Increase for FY 2012

Fare Media



Base Fare



Reduced Fare



Mobility Base



Weekly Pass



Monthly Pass



Mobility Pass



TMA Discounts

0% to 10%

No Change


Free with Adult

(Height Requirement 46” Max 2)

No Change









Why is MARTA raising its fares?

  • All forms of transportation are heavily subsidized.  But at MARTA’s current fare of $2.00, customers are only paying about 27 percent of what it actually costs to provide them with bus and train service. At $2.50, the amount MARTA receives from customer fares will be about 31.5 percent of its costs, a figure that’s much closer to what most systems are getting nationwide.
  • By raising fares now, MARTA can avoid making any further cuts to the transit service that would create severe hardships for our passengers who depend on us to get to work, to school and to medical appointments.
  • As it stands right now, the transportation sales tax vote that will be held next year won’t give MARTA a dime to help pay for your existing service.  We’re hoping that will change but we can’t predict the future. That’s why we’re taking steps now to keep MARTA up and running.  Regardless of what happens with the sales tax vote, MARTA will stand ready to serve.
  • Despite slight improvements in the sales tax revenues MARTA gets from Fulton and DeKalb counties and the City of Atlanta, MARTA is still forced to dig into its savings to pay our bills.  Raising fares will generate about $20.5 million to help ensure that MARTA is financially healthy now and in the future.
  • Congress is very likely to slash the amount of money MARTA and other transit systems have been getting from the federal government to help pay their bills. In case that happens, MARTA has no choice but to require customers to start paying more for using the system. 
  • Even with higher fares, MARTA is still a great bargain, especially since we have Breeze passes and free transfers from bus to rail. Because most customers use them so often, the true cost of a bus trip for the average weekly pass holder is only 52 cents and 55 cents for rail based on current usage. Compare that to $3.50 a gallon, which is the average gas price in metro Atlanta. 

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