Media Center

Feb 14

ATU Local 732 appeals decision overturning arbitration board ruling to stop outsourcing MARTA Mobility

Union says move threatens rider safety and service, violates contract

Atlanta, GA – Calling the move a threat to the safe, reliable and accessible transit service for people with disabilities and seniors, ATU Local 732 is appealing a Fulton County judge overturning a decision which required MARTA to stop outsourcing its Mobility paratransit service.

“This Judge’s decision is bad for riders and our community,” says Local 732 President Michael Majette. “The goal of these private transportation companies is not to improve transit service. Rather, it is to boost their profits and they do that by gutting transit service for seniors and people with disabilities, cutting corners on safety, and beating down the working people who provide this important service.”

The Union’s appeal argues that Superior Court Judge Shawn Ellen LaGrua wrongly overturned the decision of a panel of arbitrators that found that MARTA violated its contractual commitments to its own employees when it outsourced their jobs and laid them off.

MARTA outsourced paratransit before in the 1990s, but had to bring the service back in-house after the collapse of the quality of that service. MARTA’s experience with outsourcing in the 1990s is consistent with a report sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration which found that the quality and stability of privately-operated paratransit service is extremely poor, nationwide, compared to service operated in-house by public agencies.

From Dallas, TX, to Pam Beach, FL, there are countless cautionary tales of outsourcing paratransit service. Private companies win contracts with lofty promises of cutting costs and more efficient service, but time after time these contracts end up sacrificing the quality of transit service for seniors and people with disabilities while costing more, wasting tax dollars with unexpected expenses, mismanagement, fare increases, service cuts, and safety problems.

“We call on the courts to overturn the Judge’s decision vacating the decision of the Board of Arbitration and order MARTA to bring its Mobility paratransit service back in-house. There is no legal support for her decision,” Majette continued. “This is about the civil right of all residents and visitors of Atlanta to safe, reliable and affordable public transit without regard for their age or disability.”