Bicycling in and around Atlanta.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Is MARTA Smarta

Last night my wife and I took MARTA to the Braves game and I was reminded instantly of Atlanta’s public transportation failings.  First I have to comment about MARTA’s new Breeze Card system.  Designed to reduce toll jumpers I was shocked to find three out of the five brand new Breeze Card dispensers were out of order.  That combined with a multi-level menu for purchasing the card made for a long wait to buy our passes.  Speaking of long waits, once we acquired our cards we were treated to a long wait on the platform waiting for the next southbound train.  Of course Atlanta had the wisdom to design a rapid transit system that doesn’t have a station adjacent to its major sports stadium.  So after leaving the train you have the option of spending an extra dollar to take the Brave’s Shuttle to the stadium or walking the roughly one mile from the Georgia State station.  We decided to walk.  Then on the return trip there was no announcement that trains to North Fulton weren’t running through downtown.  If we hadn’t gotten on another northbound train we would have been sitting on that platform for a long time.  In all a one way trip downtown via MARTA took just over an hour, about the same amount of time it takes for me to get there by bike.  If Atlanta’s ever going to get out of traffic jam it’s going to need to have a great public transportation alternative.  And right now MARTA isn’t it.


The one good thing about MARTA is that it’s very bike friendly.  Racks on all the buses and bikes are welcome on trains.


Charinko said...

I hear you, Evan. Here in Washington DC, WMATA, commonly known as MERTO or just SUBWAY, has similar problem. Fare card, Smartrip, is working relatively working well though. Timetable is not reliable. Train malfunction is frequent. Escalator and elevator are often out of order.

It is bike friendly though, bus has two bike racks. But SUBWAY has stupid time restriction to when you can bring a bike aboard.

John said...

Well, at least you tried MARTA before pointing out its deficiencies. I know that many of your fellow Atlantans complain constantly about MARTA's failings, despite the fact that they've never set foot on a bus or train. I took MARTA rail from Candler Park/Edgewood to Georgia State every weekday for more than a year and I found it to be pleasant and dependable.

Evan said...

I really don't want to slam MARTA too hard. It just could be a lot better. I often use a combo of MARTA and CCT when I need to get downtown and I can't ride.