Keith Parker, MARTA CEO
Keith Parker, MARTA CEO

There are things about MARTA that need fixing in order to convince voters to support expanding the service, MARTA’s new CEO says.

CEO Keith Parker stopped by the Buckhead Business Association’s weekly breakfast meeting on Aug. 22. He described a service that’s been cut so much that he described the bus service as “skeletal.” Many services, like public restrooms, are no longer available to riders.

He said a campaign to change perceptions about MARTA will be key to the future of the public transit service.

“On the security side, nothing stops customers from riding more than feeling unsafe,” he said.

He added that MARTA is one of the safer systems in the country, statistically speaking. Even so, he said there will be new measures like video cameras on all buses and better policing of obnoxious behavior, like playing music over a stereo while riding on a MARTA train or bus. MARTA police will also be more visible, he said.

Parker said that unless MARTA expands, it will become hard to increase ridership and bring in more revenue for the service.

“Our footprint is too small,” he said. “We need to be in Cobb county. Many of the folks who ride our system are moving well beyond our service area.”

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011-2014. He is the founder and editor of