ATLANTA — MARTA announced a new partnership Thursday with a company that many viewed as the transit agency’s competition.
MARTA officials say they are trying to make travel more convenient by partnering with Uber.
Keith Parker, MARTA’s CEO, says with the new partnership you can link directly to Uber's site from the MARTA app while you are still on the train platform, in the station or on a bus. That way, when you arrive at the curb a car will be waiting.
“It's a great partnership, something the millennials have been telling us they want to see,” said Parker.
MARTA is only the second transit agency in the country to partner with Uber.
“I already use Uber a lot so it would just be pretty convenient to hop on right after you get done with MARTA,” said passenger Patrick Wilson.
MARTA will also be providing free Wi-Fi on buses. Over the next four to six weeks, anyone will be able to log into the system on about 50 buses and get online. Riders will be using the 4G that is already on buses for MARTA’s camera system.
“We have to make MARTA cool. I've been saying that since I came here,” Parker said.
MARTA leaders say they hope Wi-Fi on trains will come within a year.
Parker says when gas prices drop, ridership declines and that is something they are trying to combat.
”We're constantly challenged … so we have to be creative,” Parker said.
MARTA is also working on expanding its rail. Officials are working with Norfolk Southern on a study to see if a plan to extend service into Clayton County is doable.
Officials say they are planning to go to the General Assembly in November to ask for an additional half penny sales tax in DeKalb, Fulton and Clayton counties to pay for the expansion plans.