The cost for riding MARTA trains in Atlanta is on the rise. PHOTO: Josh Hallett/

In an odd twist of transportation costs the two primary ways to get around in Atlanta — MARTA trains and buses and driving a personal vehicle — are seeing opposite trends in cost.

According to Charles Edwards of WABE news in Atlanta, one-way fares for public transit have gone up $.50 to $2.50. At the same time, gas prices are going down.


While more than $.50 higher than the average cost from just one year ago, area drivers are paying about $3.25 a gallon at the pump. The price has fallen steadily over the past month (chart).

Tom Smith, assistant professor in the practice of finance at Goizueta, says the price shifts are a result of a fluctuating economy. Gas prices are being pushed down while the same stagnant economy limits sales, decreases tax revenue to operate rails and forces fare increases.

“It could be the increase in fares is going to be disproportionally burdended by people with fewer resources,” Smith told Edwards. “It’s just unfortunate circumstances; it’s a benefit to drivers and people taking MARTA are going to be hit a little bit harder.”


Smith (bio) joined Goizueta in 2008. He has held faculty positions at the University of Illinois–Chicago, National-Louis University, Loyola University, and North Central College. Smith received a PhD in labor and demography/cultural economics and policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1998 and holds a BA from Illinois Wesleyan University. He has also served as a consultant for the arts, music and entertainment industry. His expertise is in cultural economics — including sports, arts and religion –  real estate economics and labor economics.