ATLANTA - Some southwest Atlanta residents who take the bus may have to find another way to get around after MARTA announced plans to temporarily suspend service to a portion of the route that covers the Cambellton Corridor.
Service to the portion of MARTA route 183, which includes Niskey Lake Road and County Line Road, will come to a screeching halt on April 22.
"This is going to cause a major upset in transportation for a population that relies on MARTA…we do need answers, and we definitely need an interim plan immediately," District 11 city council member Marci Overstreet said.
Overstreet told FOX 5 her office has received dozens of calls about the change since customers were notified last week.
"She doesn’t know how she’s getting to work, she doesn’t know how she’s getting to her appointments or the grocery store," she said of her conversation with one resident.
MARTA officials say a safety investigation on that stretch of road revealed it was too narrow for buses to operate safely—citing 3 bus collisions in addition to reports from customers and drivers about other close calls. Heavy traffic along the road where Bunche Middle School sits was another concern.
"Everyone’s wondering now why is it that school buses can travel the road but MARTA cannot? "I’m also getting calls asking why after 30 years this particular terrain is being deemed unsafe," Overstreet explained.
Resident Lerone McGhee said he’s been a passenger on this bus route for almost all his life. He’s one of many now scrambling to figure out an alternative.
"As a person who rides the bus, that’s my sole transportation…dealing with the issues of our people who are low income, it affects me when they say ‘we have to walk over two miles to get to the nearest bus stop.’" He told Fox 5.
MARTA officials say they recommended city leaders consider changes to the street including: widening the existing Niskey Lake Road right-of-way from 20ft to 24ft, providing pull off areas along the alignment, restricting street parking for all vehicles, installing flashing beacons that alert drivers to on-coming large vehicles or making the street one-way.
In the meantime, Overstreet is calling for a short-term solution. MARTA officials told FOX 5 they’re in the process of finalizing plans for supplemental service for impacted customers and that those plans will be announced shortly.