If you are new to MARTA and not sure how to ride, you aren’t the only one. Luckily, MARTA is one of the easier transit systems to navigate, and one of the safest systems in the country. Here are five tips to make your commute easier, whether you’re a new rider or just want to improve the commute you already have.
1. Make Short Trips
Riding MARTA can take twice as long as driving, so it is better to stick with shorter, easier commutes that don’t involve riding the system from end to end. If you live in Atlanta, this means living somewhere that is relatively close to where you work, or near a rail station so you can minimize any extra bus to rail or rail to bus transfers. It can also mean shopping at stores and malls that are close to home or your job. If you’re visiting Atlanta, staying a hotel near a rail station is also very helpful.
2. Use Free Transfers
You can transfer for free from a bus to a train, train to a bus and bus to bus only if you follow the proper procedure. To transfer from a train to a bus, make sure to tap your Breeze Card to exit the station (look for the blue circle at the fare gate). To transfer from a bus to a train, you must pay the bus fare with a Breeze Card. If you pay cash to ride the bus, you will have to pay again to ride the train, or immediately tap your empty Breeze Card on the bus after inserting cash for your fare to receive a transfer.
3. Purchase the Best Fare
A one-way MARTA ride is called a trip. When you purchase or reload a Breeze Card, you can choose to add trips or time. If you plan to use MARTA regularly for a commute to work/school or are visiting Atlanta for several days, it is often more cost effective to purchase daily, weekly or monthly passes (time) instead of individual trips (see pass options and prices). A Special Fares Program also provides discounts to convention groups, students K-12 in Fulton and Dekalb counties, college students, senior citizens and corporations. A maximum of two children under 46″ can also ride free with a paying adult.
4. Know the Schedules
MARTA doesn’t run as frequent as other transit systems in the country. If you want to prevent extra wait times, know the bus and rail schedules. Even better, download the MARTA on the Go app. It includes schedules for trains and buses as well as real-time train arrivals, which is a great tool for improving your commute. Printed copies of bus schedules are also available at the Five Points station.
5. Look at Maps
Before you ride MARTA, be sure to look at the rail station map and bus route maps online. It helps to be familiar with the layout of the system and pinpoint your start and end address. For extra help, use Google Transit, which provides trip information from a start and end location based on the next departure time that you specify.