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[transport-communications] Saturday, January 1, 2000

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  • Bernie Wagenblast
    1) Signs of the times: MARTA speaks many languages; More multilingual: Transit agency especially sensitive to area s growing Hispanic population. [article from
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2000
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      1) Signs of the times: MARTA speaks many languages; More multilingual:
      Transit agency especially sensitive to area's growing Hispanic population.
      [article from the Atlanta Constitution]

      (In yesterday's report I included a link to the following story.
      Unfortunately the link only worked Friday. Below I've copied the text of
      the article for those interested. I apologize for the inconvenience.)

      Bernie Wagenblast

      +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

      1) Signs of the times: MARTA speaks many languages; More multilingual:
      Transit agency especially sensitive to area's growing Hispanic population.

      By: Mark Bixler
      .
      Not long ago, MARTA officials wanted to tell its passengers about bus and
      train schedules for New Year's Eve. Soon all 36 stations had signs --- one
      side in English, the other in Spanish --- explaining the holiday plan. The
      bilingual signs are tangible evidence of a city that increasingly views
      itself as home to people from all over the world. They also underscore
      Atlanta's efforts to court foreign tourists.

      MARTA began printing signs in languages other than English just before the
      1996 Olympics. After the international athletes and spectators left, the
      agency realized that many residents who take the bus and train speak Spanish
      far better than English, so it decided to print many of its signs in both
      languages.

      Mitzi Rutledge, senior marketing associate for MARTA, said it makes sense to
      explain bus and train timetables in languages that users understand.

      "We do have a bilingual population, and as MARTA serves Atlanta as an
      international city, we felt it would be to our best advantage to inform all
      our customers --- in Spanish and English," she said.

      She did not have estimates of the number of Spanish-speaking MARTA
      passengers. But in DeKalb and Fulton counties, where MARTA operates,
      estimates of the Hispanic population range from 51,200 to 94,100.

      The agency also offers information in other languages on its Web site (www.
      itsmarta.com) and by phone. In addition to information in English and
      Spanish, the Web site has sections in Chinese, French, German, Japanese,
      Spanish and English. People who call MARTA's customer information line
      (404-848-4711) can get answers in English, Spanish, Japanese, French and
      German.

      The Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau estimated that 581,000
      international visitors came to Atlanta in 1997. About 115,600 were from
      Germany, Austria or Switzerland; 109,800 from the United Kingdom, and
      108,000 from other Western European countries. It estimated that 62,000 came
      from Japan and 64,000 from other Asian countries.

      About 52,000 tourists were from South America, but the tourism industry
      expects that number to rise now that Delta Air Lines has added flights
      between Atlanta and Lima, Peru; Caracas, Venezuela; San Jose, Costa Rica;
      Panama City, Panama; San Salvador, El Salvador and Guatemala City,
      Guatemala.
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      Bernie Wagenblast
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