ATLANTA — MARTA’s board of directors approved a $646 million agreement with Stadler Rail for the purchase of 254 new rail cars.
The agreement contains options for MARTA to order up to 100 additional rail cars. The procurement is the single largest for either organization, MARTA officials said in a news release.
“We have consistently exceeded our on-time performance target goal of 95 percent, but we know that the age of our current fleet contributes heavily to the delays we experience,” Jeffrey A. Parker, MARTA’s general manager and CEO, said in a news release.
“About 65 percent of our delays are due to rail car reliability, and with rail transit being the cornerstone of our business, we aim to change that,” Parker added. “The new fleet will reduce the number of unscheduled repairs associated with MARTA’s aging rail fleet, which ranges between 30 and 40 years old. A better customer experience in turn will increase ridership.”
As the MARTA system grew between 1979 and 2000, MARTA procured rail cars three times previously – in 1979, 1985 and 2003. The Stadler procurement, however, will mark the first time that previously purchased cars will be retired, officials said.
Stadler, a Switzerland-based manufacturer with U.S. operations in Salt Lake City, Utah, has manufactured trains since 1942. The rail cars are scheduled to be delivered between 2023 and 2028, with the delivery of a pilot car in 2022.