Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority (ATL) Awarded $250,000 from Federal Transit Administration to Fund Efforts to Restore Xpress Ridership

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For Immediate Public Notice: June 7, 2022
Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority (ATL) Awarded $250,000 from Federal Transit Administration to Fund Efforts to Restore Xpress Ridership

ATLANTA – The Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority (ATL) is among fifty recipients selected to receive funds from the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) $25 million Route Planning Restoration Program under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The ATL will be awarded $250,000 to fund its efforts to enhance Xpress transit ridership. Like many transit operators in the metropolitan Atlanta region, Xpress saw ridership decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding from the FTA’s Route Planning Restoration Program can be used for transit route planning designed to increase ridership, reduce travel times, and make service adjustments to increase the quality or frequency of transit service for low-income riders and disadvantaged neighborhoods or communities.

At the ATL’s June 2nd Xpress Operations Committee meeting, Dr. Jamie Fischer, Director of Transportation Performance, and Innovation reported that during the pandemic, Xpress experienced a dramatic decline in ridership similar to all transit operators in the metro Atlanta region. The ATL has instituted several initiatives aimed at increasing ridership since the pandemic which included enhanced safety measures on Xpress coaches, suspending fares, implementing a contactless mobile payment option, and most recently offering a 50% fare discount incentive from June through July available on its contactless mobile app, Token Transit.

Dr. Fischer advised the Board that while Xpress has seen a clear increase in ridership and the numbers are steadily rising, they are still hovering around 25% of pre-pandemic levels. The grant that the ATL has received is both timely and needed to support the ATL’s efforts in exploring how to further enhance ridership within the Xpress system.

In its application for the Route Planning Restoration Program, the Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority focused on the need to develop a “Return to Ridership” plan for ATL’s Xpress commuter bus service that would focus on growing ridership; assessing new regional travel behaviors and commute patterns; soliciting public input and accounting for the needs of low income, disadvantaged, and environmental justice populations throughout the metro Atlanta region; and coordinating with local and county governments, social service providers, employers, and the Metropolitan Planning Organization.

“We are pleased to receive this award from the FTA which will go a long way in helping us increase our ridership as we continue to provide high quality and efficient transit service throughout the 13-county metropolitan Atlanta region,” said ATL Interim Executive Director, Heather Aquino.

 

About the Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority

The ATL was created by the Georgia General Assembly during the 2018 legislative session to provide coordinated transit planning and funding for the metro Atlanta region. The ATL is responsible for developing the ATL Regional Transit Plan, as well as identifying and prioritizing the projects and initiatives required to develop region-wide transit. The ATL is also charged with creating a unified regional transit system brand. Effective July 1, 2020, the ATL was legislatively authorized to oversee the state’s Xpress regional commuter transit system and the Atlanta region’s vanpool system. The population of metro Atlanta is growing rapidly and projected to add an additional 2.5 million residents by 2040. The ATL is a critical step towards more efficient and effective transit and mobility in the region. For more information on Xpress and the ATL, visit https://atltransit.ga.gov/ and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

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