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Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 6:00am

MARTA Approves 'Nuisance' Riders Crackdown

Leaders of metro Atlanta's public transit system have approved a plan to crack down on riders who bother other passengers by begging, listening to loud music and being unruly.

MARTA's board on Monday approved a new code of conduct that allows the transit system's police to suspend unruly passengers from using the system for offenses such as spitting, panhandling, soliciting, eating or drinking. Suspensions can range from one day to a year, and even a permanent ban in certain serious cases.

The effort is part of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority's "Ride with Respect" campaign.

MARTA executives say that so-called nuisance crimes cause people to avoid riding the trains and buses -- and they want to improve public perceptions about safety.

Meanwhile, the transit agency also is considering running more frequent trains.

MARTA plans a Sept. 19 public hearing on its proposal, which would include more trains during rush hours.

The idea is being considered as MARTA plans to reinvest in rail service after years of service cuts and fare hikes.

The improvements proposed to a MARTA planning committee on Monday would add service on all four lines on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Trains on the Red and Gold Lines, which extend to North Springs and to Doraville respectively, would run every 10 minutes instead of every 15 as they do now.

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