The most frequent complaint we hear at MARTA about transit is that we simply need MORE of it. We're working on that now.' says longtime MARTA Board Chair, Robbie Ashe. The metro Atlanta region gained another nearly 80,000 residents during 2017. The largest population increase was in Gwinnett County, and the highest percentage gains against base population in the 9-county core metro were in Cherokee and Henry counties. At the same time, growing recognition of the benefits of mass transit for the metropolitan Atlanta region, as well as improved connectivity and performance by existing transit agencies in Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties, along with state players at the Atlanta-Region Transit Link and the Georgia Department of Transportation, have the region on the real cusp of region-wide transportation system planning and expansion. Much fretting has been done by some during these discussions of a nationwide decline in transit riders in most every major metropolitan jurisdiction. From San Francisco’s BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to metro New York's MTA, the Chicago subway and L-Train and metro Washington D.C.'s Metro, most every major system has seen a year over year ridership decline in the 5 percent range. Near full employment, near record minority employment and growth in the second quarter exceeding four percent all mean that a healthier economy means more consumers with greater incomes and more choices. Greater employment options and higher wages among lower skill workers also typically means there will be fewer transit dependent riders. The Atlanta United soccer team now bring on average 70,000 soccer fans, predominantly via MARTA to the new Mercedes Benz stadium for 17-18 homes games per year. Taking a round trip, that’s well over 2-million new riders for MARTA per season, many from the outer suburbs. We call these folks, 'choice riders,' and by every indication, those numbers are rapidly on the rise. Commercial and residential real estate adjacent to our new MARTA Transit Oriented Developments (TODs), as well as the Atlanta BeltLine, are among the highest in demand residential addresses in the region. Transit access appears to be one of the primary factors on realtors’ radar. The Mayor and Council in New York City recently placed a one-year moratorium on new for hire vehicle licenses, primarily impacting potential drivers for the ride sharing services of Uber and Lyft. The two services now largely split more than 100,000 existing ride share licenses. Comparatively, there are only 13,000 Yellow Cabs in Manhattan, and a capped number of taxi medallions, as the cab drivers are seeking protection. Uber and Lyft estimate annual driver turnover in the 25-30 percent range, as most of their drivers are part-time workers seeking to supplement their income. The pain of fewer ride share drivers will be felt most sharply in the outer boroughs of NYC, where subway and bus service is also more limited. Currently 80 percent of Lyft's rides in NYC begin or end in the outer boroughs. For Uber, that percentage is 60 percent, excluding airport fares. Limiting transit options will likely raise rates on the remaining rides, and potentially push some riders back towards more expensive cabs. Here in Atlanta, the latest arrival on the streets of Midtown, downtown and Buckhead are electric scooter rentals from two more ride sharing services called Bird and Lime. These smart phone enabled scooters are an inexpensive, sustainable and privately funded 'last-mile' transit option, ideal for that short hop from a MARTA rail station to your final home, work or play destination. These threads, woven together form a flowing mobility tapestry. Some will be on the rise, others plateau, and new options will likely yet enter the market. If you have the benefit of regular travel, try out some of these options locally, but also experience similar networks in other cities and metro regions, check out the signage, ease of use and connectivity. Pick up a few 'best practices' that you might bring home to your community. That is of course your choice, just like being a 'choice rider,' but I think if you give it a shot, you will also find out that not always being on a packed train or bus is a good thing, and that if we can spread demand from rush hours and drive-time to a broader cross section of each day...less really is more.