ATLANTA — Some MARTA employees say they don't think the agency will not be ready to accommodate passengers for the Super Bowl.
Channel 2's Dave Huddleston was warned about the problem through a tip. MARTA has said it's ready to expand it's reach across the metro ahead of the big game. But some bus and rail operators said they don't have enough staff to run their daily routes, let alone handle anything like the Super Bowl.
Lindsey Medley rides MARTA, but said it can be frustrating when you're on the platform waiting and your train is late.
"It's about 30 to 40 minutes (behind)," Medley told Huddleston. "It's cold out here!"
Bus and rail operators told Huddleston they often have to cancel routes, sometimes more than a dozen a day, because they are short-staffed.
Back in January, during the college championship game, passengers waited for hours for trains. With a million visitors, the Super Bowl will be twice as big.
Huddleston took the claims straight to MARTA's union headquarters to see if what he heard was true -- and union executives confirmed it.
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Huddleston filed an open records request and learned MARTA is down 73 mechanics, 200 bus drivers, 15 rail operators and 39 police officers. Officials said they don't have enough staff to run all daily routes.
Huddleston asked MARTA's new CEO, Jeffrey A. Parker, how he can assure the public that the transportation agency will be ready for Super Bowl VIII.
"We have been employing some really large efforts, some would say extraordinary efforts, to attract people to MARTA," Parker said.
Parker said the agency has hosted job fairs and offered a $1,000 referral bonus to current staff. He said they are training 60 new bus operators and budgeted $2 million specifically for the Super Bowl.
Parker admitted it has been difficult to find workers, but said MARTA will be ready.
"When it comes to the Super Bowl and having enough staff, there are several things that we are doing and this will be a key to our success."