Atlanta (WAOK)-MARTA fares rise from $2 to $2.50 beginning today.  This is the second time in two years fares have gone up.

MARTA last raised its regular fares in October 2009, from $1.75 to $2. It was the first fare increase since 2001, and an increase that MARTA CEO Beverly Scott said was probably overdue. Monthly passes will now cost $95, an 81 percent increase since 2009, when they were $52.50.

Much of MARTA’s funding comes from a 1 percent sales tax levied in DeKalb and Fulton counties. That revenue fell along with the economy. But the economy’s decline is starting to level off, and MARTA has restored some of the services it cut, including the bus shuttle from Five Points to Braves games.

Over the past two years MARTA has made sweeping cutbacks and fare increases in order to fill a budget gap of more than $100 million. It eliminated 2,700 of 11,500 bus stops and cut back train service as well.

The cutbacks did not put the agency in the black. Instead, they enabled MARTA to stay afloat while taking from reserves, which MARTA expected to exhaust in 2013.


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