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MARTA doom day

May 31, 2010
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What the hell?  That Kyle dude is frickin nice, and gracious.  Asshole.  I don’t know why I felt the need to pick a fight at midnight, but he ruined that for me.  Thanks, Kyle, thanks a lot for making me like you.

In other news, I attended the MARTA board committee meetings where the budget and service cuts were announced.  The three biggies are that bus service will be cut by 11.3%, 90 weekday routes.  Rail service will be pushed back to 20 minutes during peak hours (up from 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the line) and turn back service on the branches will begin at 7 as opposed to 9.  39 buses will be retired, and 98 rail cars.  They will close the ride stores at Lenox and Lindbergh, and the bathrooms, and info booth and call center hours.  You can read all about that stuff in the paper, everywhere basically. 

At MARTA, 743 positions will be cut, 191 non represented (that means staffers, not operators).  This equates to 392 people, as some of these positions are vacant and will just be taken from the books.  Most of these will be station agents.

What struck me most about the meetings was Dr. Scott’s passion for the organization and its employees.  Regarding the cuts, she said, “It’s not okay, but it’s the condition we’ve found ourself.  It’s not an acceptable level of service.” 

Dr. Scott even broke down into tears when the conversation turn to her staff and how they haven’t received pay increases in she started at MARTA in October of 2007.  Apparently MARTA either conducted or participated in a national salary survey and found that they aren’t competitive.  However, the legislation specifically targets MARTA employees to not receive pay increases in the bill that was passed.  She called it a “real smack in the face.”  She said that her employees remain with MARTA on “faith.”  But she’s right.  How do you keep staff when you can’t pay them for their dedication and effort?  I know a couple of employees who work their asses off and live for MARTA, and yet they get nothing but more work in return.

I admire Dr. Scott.

So, after than fun and depressing news, I did have fun at the meeting.  Apparently I’m a big deal.  Or mini big deal.  A board member commented that he liked my blog and planned to comment on it.  And a MARTA staffer, let’s call him my new Buddy, brought me copies of the presentations, budget surveys, and the route cuts.  These weren’t given to the common folk who showed up to the meeting.  When Two, who was sitting with me at the meeting, went to ask for a copy, he was denied.  Someone later sent one over to him, so I couldn’t be too smug, but it’s fun to think I’m important.

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