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Our Opinion: Being Smart On MARTA Changes

By The Editorial Board Posted: 09/30/2010
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As hard as this is to believe, the traffic in the city of Atlanta may get even worse after this week. Thanks to a massive budget deficit, which board members cite to be the worst in at least 25 years, MARTA has announced the cut of 440 miles of bus routes and left many Atlanta residents considering other options for transportation. Among the scale-back of bus routes is a modification of Route 36, which runs past Emory’s campus along North Decatur Road, which many students and staff take or have taken in the past.

The implications of such a large-scale cut in the public transportation system are undeniable. While the change may not affect the significant portion of the Emory student population who doesn’t rely on MARTA on a daily basis, many people from all over Atlanta and its metropolitan areas do rely on it to get them to work or to school. The greatest impact this will have for Emory students is an increasingly complicated procedure for transporting oneself to the airport, a question that becomes especially pertinent with Fall Break fast approaching.

As MARTA undergoes these changes, there is an ever-developing need for improvements in University transportation services. College junior and Student Government Association (SGA) Vice President Adam McCall organized a campus shuttle program that transported students to the airport during Thanksgiving and Spring Breaks, an effort that was largely successful. Such initiatives will be increasingly indispensable for students as additional MARTA routes are cut and we hope that SGA will keep these programs as a priority in the future.

Additionally, to make the program as efficient and helpful to students as possible, SGA should consider revising the airport shuttle route to run from main campus to the Lindbergh MARTA station, rather than all the way to College Park, Ga., where the actual airport is located. From the Lindbergh Station, which is only a few miles away from main campus, students could ride the train directly to the airport without having to make any transfers.

Not only would this keep the shuttle system cost-efficient, but students would no longer have to hang out at the airport for hours before they board their flights because the shuttle would run at more frequent intervals. Improving the airport shuttle program would be a great convenience for students but it would also help keep money in the MARTA system — an important move, considering Emory’s goal to remain committed to the wellbeing of the greater Atlanta community.

Most importantly, we encourage Emory to make information readily available to students as additional modifications to MARTA routes are made. Because most Emory students don’t take the MARTA bus regularly, they may not be aware that routes have changed until they’re already trying to embark on their way, so the University must strive to keep students continually updated about changes made to transportation options around campus.

The above staff editorial represents the majority opinion of the Wheel’s editorial board.

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