Atlanta Streetcar riders see potential for growth


The Atlanta Streetcar is clean, air-conditioned and cheap. Yet on a typical weekday, its riders are few.

The Centennial Olympic Park stop sits beneath the shadow of the Skyview Atlanta ferris wheel. But Anthony Murdock, who works security for Skyview, said he rarely sees anyone using the Streetcar, except when events are going on.

“I work here from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day, and I hardly see anyone using it,” Murdock said.

Traffic picks up around noon, as people use the Streetcar to get across downtown for lunch. Many of the riders are tourists using it to travel to sites such as Centennial Olympic Park, Georgia State University, the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic District, Woodruff Park and the Peachtree Center MARTA Station.

Tour guides suggested that first-time Atlanta visitor Gavin Schachat, a native of Capetown, South Africa, use the Streetcar as an easy way to reach tourist destinations. While purchasing a ticket was a challenge(there are separate ticket machines for riders with international credit and debit cards), Schachat said he is “sure it will be worthwhile.”

Locals do use the Streetcar, but make up much less of the ridership, which is up nearly 10 percent in the past five months since the city instituted a minimum $1 fee for a one-way ticket in 2016. Chris Terrell, a lifelong Atlantan, said he rides the Streetcar several times a week. “I like it because you have your AC on. It’s comfortable, and it’s clean. You get your money’s worth.”

To better service locals, Terrell said he’d like to see the current 2.7 mile route expanded. The city has plans to ultimately construct a 53-mile streetcar and light-rail network across the city. But first, it has to fix all 66 problems outlined by state and federal auditors concerning the Streetcar’s safety, security, maintenance and operation. The Georgia Department of Transportation says the city is on track to complete those improvements by the end of the month.

Murdock thinks more people should take advantage of the Streetcar. “It’s pretty,” Murdock said when asked his favorite thing about the Streetcar. “But unless there’s event like an SEC Championship game or an Atlanta Hawks game when there’s a couple people, no one uses it on an average day.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Wangari Maathai: Africa’s first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize
Wangari Maathai: Africa’s first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize

Born in Nyeri, Kenya in 1940, Wangari Maathai — born Wangari Muta — loved playing by the stream near her home, where she would go daily to fetch water. The sight of frog eggs floating in the stream captured her imagination, with her young mind believing she could grab the “beads” and make a beautiful necklace. Years later, the...
Fulton police seek help identifying homicide suspect
Fulton police seek help identifying homicide suspect

Fulton County Police are currently investigating a homicide committed Tuesday afternoon. A man was killed about 4:18 p.m. at the Country Squire apartments, police spokesman Patrena Smith said. “The suspect in this case was seen running from the scene He is described as about 6-foot-1 to 2 and between 170 and 180 pounds.  “He is considered...
‘Super-potent’ hash, marijuana seized in North Georgia bust
‘Super-potent’ hash, marijuana seized in North Georgia bust

A 35-year-old Jackson County man was arrested after authorities discovered a cache of drugs Monday. Nikki Nelson Allen of Commerce faces drug distribution charges in connection with about 5.5 pounds of marijuana, a large quantity of butane honey oil and $7,462 in cash, Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office spokesman Mitchell Posey...
3 arrested after children found with flea bites in Clayton County home
3 arrested after children found with flea bites in Clayton County home

Three people, who were initially wanted on outstanding warrants, were arrested on child cruelty charges after four children were found with flea bites, Clayton County authorities said.  Nicole Tarney Hunter, 26, Chantrell Marlon Mitchell, 33, and Michael Gamal Mitchell, 58, remained in the Clayton County jail Tuesday night, according to records...
Cops: Man threatened to kill woman who accused him of touching her son
Cops: Man threatened to kill woman who accused him of touching her son

A Roswell man remains in the Fulton County jail weeks after police say he threatened a woman with her son at a gas station.  Allen Drew Robinson, 28, faces a misdemeanor terroristic threat charge after allegedly threatening to kill the woman, who accused him of touching her child, according to a Roswell police report.  The 7-year-old boy...
More Stories