In 2014, I founded the MARTA Army, a non-profit empowering Metro Atlanta residents to improve the transit ridership experience in their own neighborhoods. The MARTA Army recruited over 400 volunteers throughout the Atlanta Region to adopt their neighborhood bus stops. We produced laminated signs with route and schedule information for volunteers to place at their adopted stops. This program prompted the State of Georgia to award a historic $3.8 million to improve bus stop signage throughout the region.
The MARTA Army also organized the first non-space specific crowd-funding program ever done in transportation. Although 20% of East Point, GA, residents uses the bus as their main mode of transport, only 5% of bus stops had trashcans, which caused a littering problem. In partnership with the City of East Point, the MARTA Army raised funding for trashcans at all 250 MARTA bus stops. Of those, 100 stops received sufficient donations to purchase trashcans (moneys donated to all other stops were reimbursed). The trashcans were installed and are serviced regularly by the City of East Point.
The MARTA Army launched the MARTA Kudos award program to honor front-line employees who have demonstrated exceptional valor in the line of duty. Each year, MARTA customers nominate bus drivers, stations agents, janitors, etc. The nominated employees are awarded the prestigious Medal of Kudos at a black tie event. In 2017, MARTA CEO, Keith Parker, and Union President, Michael Majette, both participated in honoring Kudos nominees.
The MARTA Army is also a force of resilience in the Atlanta Region. In the wake of the I-85 bridge collapse in the spring of 2017, 50 volunteers with neon vests were stationed at 10 stations across the network to help neo-riders navigate the system.