WABE News
3:54 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

Seeking Stability, MARTA Chief Warns of Possible Fare Hike, Job Cuts

Credit WABE

In implementing a new plan to shore up MARTA's finances, the agency’s chief warned of a possible fare hike and said privatization of some services may lead to job cuts.

Facing a $33 million budget deficit, new General Manager Keith Parker said MARTA has to change its culture.

“We do have some employees that seek excellence, but not everybody does, and we want everyone.”

A new plan based on an audit from the consulting firm KPMG recommends privatizing seven departments: human resources, payroll, paratransit services, cleaning services, call center operations, IT, and accounts payable.

Parker expressed support for the plan, but didn’t specify how many jobs would be affected.

“There will still be people doing the work - they may just be doing it as employees for another organization,” said Parker. “For example, if we end up outsourcing paratransit, then the number of people who are getting paychecks from MARTA will certainly shrink substantially.”

Parker also said a fare hike may be necessary moving forward.

“We’re going to do everything we can do to avoid it, and if there is one, rather than have a 25 cents fare increase, we’re going to look to have a much smaller one.”

The KPMG plan is not final yet. MARTA’s union will weigh in and ultimately MARTA’s board must sign off.