Friday, June 7, 2013

Letter to MARTA

I just sent this e-mail to MARTA, regarding a (fortunately) minor situation this afternoon:

To Whom it May Concern,

I was riding my bike home from school today (Friday, 7 June), headed east on [road] at approximately 12:40p. I was riding in the middle of the bike lane, just west of [neighborhood]. I was passed much too closely by one of your buses, literally within inches of my handlebars. I was in the center of the bike lane, and the right wheels of the bus were on the bike lane stripe.  As the bus passed I noticed plenty of clearance (at least 2 feet) on the driver's side between the bus and the yellow traffic lines. There was minimal oncoming traffic.

There is a 3' passing law in Georgia, enacted a couple years ago, and this holds regardless of whether the cyclist is in a main traffic lane or a bike lane. I think it was the 24 bus, but it was bus 2348. Please remind that driver in particular, and the rest of your drivers in general, that just being a larger vehicle on the road does not give them the right of way. In fact, when safely overtaking more vulnerable, smaller, or slower vehicles, it is incumbent on the driver of the larger/faster vehicle to exercise more caution.

I am a regular MARTA user, both bus and train service, but I am frustrated by the sometimes reckless behavior your drivers display, both regarding other road users (too closely passing cyclists, motorists) and traffic signals (running stale red lights).

We are all users of the road, please educate (and re-educate) your drivers of that fact and maybe no one will get hurt.

Thank you for your time.


Three days after sending this e-mail I received a response. Note that now, 3 full months later, I have not heard about any resolution of this complaint.

Dear Ms. Lutz,

Thank you for contacting the MARTA Customer Care Center. I documented and filed your concern in our database for an investigation. I also forwarded your email to our Bus Operations Department for further investigation. It is never our intent to inconvenience our Patrons or daily Atlanta commuters with employee errors or safety issues. I sincerely apologize if this is the case during your bike ride home. I will certainly have this issue addressed for you.  Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Your reference number is ________. We will contact you when a resolution is provided to your complaint. I can assure you that MARTA is working around the clock to improve service and the overall customer experience.  If you have any additional questions, comments or concerns, please contact the MARTA Customer Care Center at 404.848.5000; please select 1 for English, 3 for the MARTA Customer Care Center, and then 3 again for a MARTA Representative. Thank you for allowing the MARTA Customer Care Center team to assist you today.


Mr. Jason Brooks