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MARTA and the City of Atlanta officially broke ground this morning for the region’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) line, the newly named MARTA Rapid. Construction on the line will begin immediately with service scheduled for 2025.

The five-mile BRT line will connect Downtown to Capitol Gateway, Summerhill, Peoplestown, and the Beltline, with connections to MARTA’s heavy rail system at Five Points, Georgia State, and Garnett Stations.

The high-capacity transit line will have new electric buses and operate in 85 percent dedicated lanes with transit signal priority. Fourteen BRT stations along the route will feature off-board fare collection so you can pay before you board, real-time service information, and level boarding, along with other amenities consistent with rail stations. You can view the route and stations in the video above.

“We are excited to celebrate this milestone in the More MARTA Atlanta Program and get started building the region’s first BRT line in this vital city corridor,” said MARTA General Manager and CEO Collie Greenwood. “This line will provide an efficient connection between historic city neighborhoods, job centers, Georgia State, and our rail system, and will be the benchmark for future BRT lines in metro Atlanta.”

“Investments in transit are really investments in our people, communities and future,” said Mayor Andre Dickens. “I came into office with a long-term vision to assure that all our residents would share in Atlanta’s growth and prosperity, and transit equity is a huge part of that charge.”

MARTA Rapid will be the name for the overall BRT system in metro Atlanta, with individual lines denoted by color, similar to the rail system. For example, MARTA Rapid Silver or MARTA Rapid Purple. The color of the Summerhill BRT line is still being determined. MARTA has BRT lines planned for Clayton Southlake, SR54/Jonesboro Road, Campbellton Road, Clifton Corridor and on GA 400.

The Summerhill BRT line is funded through a federal TIGER Grant and the More MARTA Atlanta half-penny sales tax.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.