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Soapbox: Safety, Rudeness, and Stupidity

June 2, 2011

I have loads of other posts I should be writing, like one about my trip this past weekend or on funding (cause you haven’t read enough of that lately, have you?) but I want to address some of the unwarranted comments that we’ve received as of late. Ones about safety and how MARTA is inferior.

I make no apologizes for being a MARTA supporter. I mean, our blog is named MARTA Rocks! for Pete’s sake. I will knock them when they’ve done something bad. I’ll be the first to call them out, publicly, for when the Breeze machine takes my money or I get stuck on a train on the tracks while headed to a meeting with the City Transportation Director, but I will also defend them to the death when people say unjustified and untruthful things about the system, the people who run it, and it’s overall quality and safety.

If we were paying to be safe and for MARTA to be gratious and nice then many wouldn’t complain. But some of us have been robbed, dragged by buses, dealing with rude MARTA employees, nasty bathrooms, buses that leave late, and MARTA in general not caring about the very people that keep them in business.

A. No one will ever be completely happy with anything. You can’t please everyone with a system that serves half a million a year. Y’all will never stop complaining.

B. I have been riding MARTA for three years now, since moving to Atlanta. I have never, not once, dealt with a rude bus driver or station agent. You know what I attribute that to? I’m a nice person. I always greet my bus driver, tell them “Good Morning” or “Good Afternoon,” and I thank them for driving my butt around town. And you know what, they are always courteous to me and wish me the same and tell me to have a good day. I have a theory that all you people who experience rude bus drivers are simply rude and hateful to them. Like begets like, and I would be shocked if a single bus driver out there was a jerk to you after you smiled at them and greeted them warmly. Let’s not forget that people have bad days. Have you never had a bad day and were short with someone? Guess what, bus drivers are human too. They have emotions, and if you treat them nicely, you’re likely to help them be in a better mood.

But I have run into some rude MARTA cops.

C. I know many MARTA employees, including Dr. Scott and her executives, and they are truly kind, wonderful, and caring people. People who are active in their communities and churches and who do care about the folks that ride. How can you make such accusations without knowing these people?

D. Nasty bathrooms? Half a million people ride MARTA a day; those bathrooms will always be nasty, folks. Unless they pay someone to sit there all day. People are nasty and can’t take care of anything. At least MARTA doesn’t have rats like this one in New York.

E. SOME of us have been robbed and dragged by buses. Have you been robbed or drug by a bus? One guy made accusations of being robbed, and he was fired from his news job after he admitted to making it up. One lady (who is known for being rude) was drug by a bus. We are neither of these.

Sure, bad things happen occasionally. Bad things happen everywhere occasionally. Like the Urban Commuter stated, our media tends to blow these occasional bad things out of the water. But one out of half a million daily riders a day is one, not a pandemic.

MARTA can in no way support any level of comparison when it comes so severely below standard! The inconsistency in service, security, and dealing with these freakin’ panhandlers, and attitudes of MARTA drivers does not justify any increase in fare and decrease in service.

A. Decrease in service? There are no service cuts proposed this year. In fact, as stated in earlier posts, the fare increase is so that there won’t be any decreases in service.

B. Inconsistencies in service? Urban Commuter already addressed these, but let’s have a go at it again. MARTA trains run at 97% accuracy. That’s amazing. Buses? Beats me, but hey, have you seen our roads? I’m surprised the buses make it anywhere on time ever.

But, if you want to talk comparisons, I give you WMATA. The DC system sucks so bad that China is writing about it.. The terribleness of WMATA has spawned many awesome Twitter accounts like @metroclosesdoors and @fixwmata and is pretty much my favorite system to hate.

C. Speaking of safety and comparisons and DC, WMATA is known for hosting pop up fight clubs. Or how about that train wreck of 2009? Last time I checked, MARTA has not killed 9 passengers because an operator was texting.

PS. Because of that accident and new FTA regulations, MARTA has to spend millions of dollars on new safety upgrades, reducing it’s reserves and keeping us all a little but safer.

So is it only DC that has problems along with MARTA? Nope. Just yesterday a woman was killed because it was so hot in the station she fainted and fell onto the tracks. She wasn’t the only one who fainted, either.

O, and about that bus dragging? I see your bus dragging and raise you a dragging by train in New York and in Boston.

Is MARTA perfect? No. Is any transit system perfect? No. I could keep at this all day. But is MARTA as bad as some would believe? No.

Facts. I has ’em.

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