New technology makes MARTA more convenient

ATLANTA — MARTA is testing new technology to make your next ride more convenient.

Under a pilot program, commuters use a smart-phone app to pay for rides, eliminating the need for a Breeze card.

So far, at eight rail stations and on 40 busses on eight different routes, MARTA regulars may have noticed the new scanning device that scans your phone.

"Once you have that app installed, you can buy one single ticket ride, weekly pass, or you can buy a full monthly pass," MARTA CEO Keith Parker told Channel 2's Erin Coleman.




Parker then demonstrated how it works by scanning his phone at the MARTA fare gate and walking through.

“Instead of using the traditional smart card that you’d have to go to the ticket vending machine purchase, wait in line, you’ll be able to download the [app] to your phone,” he said. “What we’ve found is 70 percent of people have smart phones, but for that remaining 30, they’ll benefit because there will be fewer people waiting in line at ticket-vending machine.”

Parker says it will not only save riders time and the $2 Breeze card fee. The new system is saving MARTA money, as well.

“Our ticket-vending machines cost quite a bit, and reducing the wear and tear on those systems, it’ll extend the life dramatically,” he added.

Riders Coleman spoke with are anticipating the added convenience.

“For the most part, it would be quicker. I’m on my phone right now,” Elvon Gomes said.

“It’s one less thing to keep track of in my wallet, and everything is on my phone anyway so it’s super convenient,” Kathryn De Shields added.

The mobile payment pilot program is just for employees right now. The public will be able to try out the new system next month with a full rollout planned for next year.