MARTA counters councilman's accusation related to skin color and train station restrooms

An Atlanta City Council member said skin color plays a role in whether MARTA will have a restroom for riders to use at train stations.

Antonio Lewis said on the south side of Atlanta it is more likely there will be no public restrooms.

The MARTA general manager, Collie Greenwood, flatly denied the assumption.

How did the unusual topic make it to the floor at a council meeting?

Well, Lewis recounted how before he became a council member, he needed the services but found many stations with locked restrooms.

He said it got so bad, he "had to go" in the bushes before continuing his trip.

A sign inside a MARTA train station warns about public urination.

A sign inside a MARTA train station warns about public urination. (FOX 5)

The councilman said he was reminded of the episode by a constituent who called and said she had trouble finding a restroom for a young child.

The MARTA manager said the system made the decision to close most of the public restrooms because it did not have sufficient workers to monitor the access.

He said throughout the system, the public restrooms are spaced out -- located at highly traveled train stations. In short, a rider better plan if the trip will take more than three stops.

"MARTA does not make decisions based on race," Greenwood told the councilman.

There is a long-term solution. MARTA has purchased and will install so-called "smart" restrooms -- a high-tech flush that will not require staffers to be present.