Legislating Common Sense . . .

Last week I heard a story on WSB Radio about a man arrested in a MARTA station for selling a token to another rider who was having difficulty buying one from the machine. The Good Samaritan offered to give his fellow rider a token, but the man insisted on paying face value. MARTA police spotted the transaction and arrested the Good Samaritan. Apparently it is against the law to sell a MARTA token, even at or below face value. The man was detained for two hours and the $1.75 was bagged as evidence.

A judge has ruled that Donald Pirone will stand trial for selling a MARTA token at the West End MARTA station. The case now goes to state court. Pirone could get up to a year in prison if he’s convicted in the case.

Today WSB Radio reports that MARTOC Chairman Jill Chambers has pre-filed legislation that would strike the provision making this type of resale illegal.

I have been harassed by beggars virtually every time I have used MARTA (which admittedly isn’t very much), and it is a shame that MARTA police enforce this resale provision while doing little about the other problems MARTA faces. Thank you to Rep. Chambers for introducing this legislation, but it is very sad that it is necessary.


  1. Ben King says:

    While I don’t use MARTA “a lot,” I did use it for four months solid when I was going to GSU for a semester. And I NEVER got harrassed by beggars. Not once. I’m just saying. People have different experiences.

  2. GAWire says:

    I’m interested to hear what Hamrick and MARTA has to say about this (not that I care about Hamrick – trust me, I don’t – but she will be the one to talk to Chambers on this). MARTA police deals with panhandlers that get on the trains (by asking folks for money or tokens) and they ride the train all day long, sleeping or going from station to station. Ideally, there would be somewhere else for those homeless folks to go … oh, wait, there is – they are called homeless shelters where they can stay warm for free. So, even though detaining this person and charging them isn’t the best way to deal with this problem, but perhaps MARTA police did this as a way to 1) follow regulations; and, 2) do something to address this larger-scale problem.

    Personally, I think this situation is rediculous, and I have indeed seen MARTA police that seem to have their focus in the wrong and most ineffective places; however, I can also see that there is a larger-scale of frustration with which they have to deal.

    While riding MARTA once, there was a man with a gun threatening to shoot folks on my train. MARTA police detained the person professionally and safely. Normally, I would say how rediculous this situation is, but I have seen these guys “in action” and I was impressed. Another factor to consider is that perhaps the actual MARTA police isn’t to blame – perhaps this is a problem for MARTA administrators and mgmt to address. There is a difference between the two; however, the media has not adequately presented the full facts, nor have they reported all sides to this situation.

  3. rickday says:

    Jill Chambers it the coolest Republican in Georgia.

    The rest of you should take her to lunch and put her in charge!

    That is the closest you will ever get me to ‘approve’ a Reflub.

  4. The real solution is a modernized fare system that makes reselling tokens obsolete. I think they were well on their way to implementing a new system when Mike Bowers sued on behalf of the losing bidder. He ended up losing his case but costing MARTA time and money. Maybe there is some merit to that tort reform stuff.

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