MARTA (Buses & Subway), Atlanta
The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) is one of the easiest ways to navigate around Atlanta. You can purchase a BreezeCard at any kiosk at any of the MARTA stations, load them with your fare ($2.50 each way/$5 round trip), then just tap the magnetic strip to gain access to the platform. Tap your card again upon your arrival to exit the station - it's that easy! Only prohibition is the trains only run until 1am, so if you plan to pull a late-nighter, plan on another way home. I found the MARTA to be clean, safe, and easy transportation - wish we had something like this in Nashville!
FYI - each rider needs their own BreezeCard ($1 one time fee - no sharing allowed!), but they are reloadable and durable.
The MARTA subway is an ok way of getting about from the airport to Perimeter (that's if you're REALLY trying to save money). The orange lines (north - south routes) are good, and the cars are usually clean; however, the blue lines (east - west of 5 points) are nothing short of a trash pit (both in appearance and odor).
I wouldn't recommend the subway in Atlanta, as it really costs more to use it than just driving your own car. Park your car at the Perimeter Mall parking / Medical Center parking lot and use it to go downtown if you do not want to pay for parking. Overall, the subway system in Atlanta is average when compared with other major cities in the US.
Atlanta's original MARTA line, the Red Line, runs, in theory from Hartsfield International Airport north some 40 miles to North Springs Station in Sandy Springs. If you're staying in Alpharetta, Roswell or somewhere else in North Fulton, North Springs makes a good park & ride connection if you want to get into the city for, say, a Falcons game or to visit Little Five Points. As with all MARTA parking structures, parking is free for 24 hours. At North Springs, there's a complication where you must exit from the direction you entered, as there is a direct ramp entrance from southbound GA 400 (exits back to northbound GA 400) as well as a side street entrance from Peachtree-Dunwoody Road. Just look for the signs as you leave.
The Red Line runs seven days per week from about 6am to about 7pm (check the schedules for specific times). After about 7pm, the train runs as far as Lindbergh Center, where you must transfer to the Yellow Line train to continue south to the city. However, this also happens sporadically, often on the weekends. If you get on a train and the sign says "Lindbergh," then this is a train that will not go past Lindbergh Center. If it says "Airport," then it continues south to the airport. The conductor will also announce this as you approach Lindbergh Center.
Transfers could use some working out also, as the Yellow Line is not timed to pick up passengers dropped off by the Red Line, so you'll often have to wait for 15 minutes or so to get back on the train and continue on.
Marta buses aren't worth the money or the time. It maybe ok if you don't depend on it or if it they don't suddenly change the route early than posted. It's the most inconvenient routes even when they don't decide to change them. Don't use marta if you don't have to, it will make your day much easier.
Marta is one of the smarter ways to get to our airport from almost anywhere in the city....$2 one way fare gets you right at the Terminal and plenty of room for bags. Buses also run all over the city and schedules are online for all areas, as well as the train schedules. There are 2 main lines (north/south and east/west) and pretty easy to use---just be carefull at the furthest edges late at night.
Got a giggle because someone in our training class said we could use MARTA since we didn't have vehicles to use. What was MARTA? What the heck was that? Well, we became familiar with this wonderful transportation system. We used Marta to go from our hotel, to Atlanta and to visit Norcross.
Monday - Friday
6:00 am until 11:00 pm
Sat, Sun & Holidays:
8:00 am until 10:00 pm
Get a Breeze Card or Ticket. All riders must have a Breeze Card or Ticket to access the bus or train. Breeze fare can be purchased at a Breeze Vending Machine located in all 38 rail stations or at any of the MARTA Ridestores (Airport, Five Points, Lindbergh Center & Lenox stations). Learn
Ok, so when you step out of the jetway and into ATL Hartsfield International Airport, you have a couple of options of getting out of there. You can proceed to the car rental section of the airport and drive out in a sporty Mustang, you can hop in the passenger's seat of your cousins car and be whisked away to their house, or, you can take MARTA. As you may or may not know, MARTA stands for Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. MARTA takes you anywhere you want to go in Atlanta. It has two lines, that run North/South, and East/West. They intersect in the middle, at the biggest of the MARTA stations called '5 Points.' The MARTA system consists of electric rail cars along with CNG (Clean Natural Gas) busses. The rail system has about 30 stations, where busses are waiting to take you to your destination. But keep in mind if your not leaving the City of Atlanta, you probably won't need to use a MARTA bus. The busses are used by people who live in Metro Atlanta, the surrounding 30 or so miles around the City. But then again, in Atlanta, EVERYONE has a car. The train will take you to Phillips Arena, home the Hawks and the Thrashers, the Georgia Dome, home of the Falcons, and to Turner Field, home of the Braves. It will also take you to the Aquarium as well as the World of Coca-Cola. The trains also leave you only a few blocks from most major hotels. Now, when your walking around, using a map is a good idea. What I really mean is, asking someone for directions could get you lost. They can refer to up to 20 streets named Peachtree, and to the traveling tourist, that could get confusing.
When VT fixes the upload problem for pics, I will add some.
Marta is somewhat new, and expanded in recent year to meet the heavy load of vehicles on the highways. Atlanta now features rail lines north to south and east/west trunk lines. Buses are also part of Marta program to take you to other destinations, or dual connections.
It seems more efficient for commuters, and may be useful for tourists. One way ticket is $1.75 and can get trip passes, and other variations.
The MARTA station located at the airport is the southernmost in the north-south line of the system. The other line is the east-west line, and these two lines converge at the center of downtown at the Five Points Station. MARTA tickets can be purchased with cash or credit card at easy to use kiosk machines, but there are friendly attendants ready to help visitors make their purchase. I purchased a $4- ticket, providing a round trip trip to Five Points. The tickets are electronically coded and are used to enter and exit the boarding part of the station, so save your ticket carefully. However, the tickets don't appear to be magnetically encoded, and they don't go through a card reader machine. The passenger simply waves the card over a special detection machine to open the gate. Security at MARTA appears very good despite the dominant population of sometime intimidating hiphop-style African-American youth at the stations and downtown. Police security is very good. The trains still had seats during my rush hour trip to downtown. Keep moving and the street people outside the MARTA stations won't even approach you for a handout. Link below can provide route planning help.
Conyers is on the outskirts of the metro Atlanta to the east. The trains only go about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way there.
I just checked on some other transit options. I have never used this service, but I HAVE seen the buses around the city from time to time. There is a company called XPress that provides service from 5 Points (on Forsyth St.), the Civic Center MARTA stop (you can get on MARTA at the airport) and Pryor Street in Atlant to East Conyers. It looks like the trip takes about 1 hour.
The fares are $3 one way or $5 round trip. You can buy a Breeze card at the MARTA station in the airport and use that for a transfer to the Xpress line as well.
Map taken from the XPress web site.
You can catch a train at the airport that will take you directly to downtown or midtown with little grief for a bargain $1.75. They have multi-day passes available as well.
I heard conflicting advice as to whether it was safe to ride at night, but we never felt in danger. It did get pretty crowded a few times though.
Much cheaper than taking a taxi, though.
There was never a problem to get TO Atlanta....but gooosh....AROUND! I live in a town with about 450000 ppl, public transportation is part many ppls everyday life and it works...we even take the bike! Being a bit naive I thought I'd do the exact same thing in Atlanta when moving there. Was I wrong or what?! Going by bike would have been my death!
I was lucky enough to live close to a bus stop which was regulary passed. I felt very out of place riding the bus....especially when working late, I did not always feel safe. The trains were somewhat nicer, really good when going to the airport.
I wouldn't say to anyone not to use the bus, I mean do what you can to save this world from all that pollution car drivers contribute to, but be wise doing it and don't be in a rush cus then it probably won't come!
The MARTA is Atlanta's light rail system. It has two main lines, one going north and south (the airport is the southern most stop) and another going east and west. They intersect at Five Points, where you could transfer from one to another. Watch out for where each train is heading, though, since there are branches in each line. It is an easy way to get to all the major attractions in Altanta. A round-trip ride is $1.75 (upto 2 children under the age of 6 can ride free with an adult), but it might make sense to get a multiple day pass (press visitor pass on the machine). It comes about every 15 min and runs until about 1:30 AM. I was told by some that it might not be a good idea to ride it late at night, but I didn't really see anything that made me worried.
This is a good way to get around the Atlanta area, which is quite large! If there is a Marta Station in the area you are staying, which there is near most hotels then try this instead of renting a car because traffic here is unreal. You can even take Marta to a Braves or Falcons game to avoid the traffic. Check out the website below for all the details.
MARTA is Awesome!
Problem is it doesn't go far enough. There's a station right at the Airport and I think it's still under $2. When I go back to Atlanta I don't bother having my friends pick me up at the Airport anymore. It's so far South of the City that's it's a hassle. Marta is pretty clean and safe and if you are going North it's pretty good. If you are going to Smyrna or (West)Marrietta it may not work for you.