How to use MARTA to get around I-85 bridge collapse

ATLANTA — State and local leaders are encouraging anyone who can to carpool, ride buses or MARTA after part of Interstate 85 collapsed due to a massive fire.

The fire broke out Thursday during the busiest time for Atlanta traffic.

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Witnesses began reporting seeing smoke on I-85 near Piedmont Road in Midtown just before 7 p.m.

Channel 2's Audrey Washington was at the Brookhaven MARTA station in DeKalb County Friday morning, where the transit system was preparing for a busier morning than usual. The Brookhaven station is the closest station to the collapse where commuters can park and get on MARTA.

MARTA added more trains and buses and the schedules are changed as well.

MARTA representatives said there will be extra service lines running Friday to deal with the expected increase in ridership during the afternoon commute.

Bus lines affected due to the I-85 bridge collapse are: 27, 6, 33, 30 and 47.

[MAP: Complete MARTA bus system map]

MARTA is encouraging passengers to use Kiss/Ride to and from MARTA stations due to extra riders.

[READ: Alternate routes to get you around I-85 bridge collapse]

Washington spoke with MARTA representatives about efforts to make transit run as smoothly as possible.

"We encourage people to tele-work, stay home and use public transit,” the representative said.

Friday was the last day to reload the original blue MARTA Breeze cards. They will be unusable by July 9.

[DETAILS: Breeze card information, check your balance]

Customers must instead purchase the new silver cards, which are supposed to be safer and include a chip.

Aside from a different color scheme, the silver cards have a similar design. The new cards also show partner logos, including CobbLinc (formerly Cobb County Transit), Gwinnett County Transit and Georgia Regional Transportation Authority. The silver cards will work at these partner facilities, according to a spokesman.

The new cards cost $2 plus the selected fare and will be valid for three years after the purchase date, according to the website.

MARTA began phasing out the blue Breeze cards in 2016 because they could be compromised and exposed to fraudulent activity, are being replaced with silver cards that have a more secure chip.

Fraud involving Breeze Cards was evident in 2013, when computer hackers illegally added fares to cards and sold them for a profit.

Stay with Channel 2 Action News and for coverage of the I-85 collapse and its impacts.

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