The great MARTA experiment

April 19, 2007 § 10 Comments

Since moving OTP, my typical morning commute has been like this:

Get in car. Get on 400. Drive, drink coffee, sing aaaaaannnnnnddddd STOP. Somewhere between exit 9 and 7 everything goes wrong and I’m in a parking lot for 20 minutes. It doesn’t matter if there’s a traffic “incident” (as GaNavigator calls them) or if the weather is bad or whatnot. It just happens so I suck it up and I’ve now become someone who “brings things to do/ work in while in the car.” I’ll make phone calls, email, read over some paperwork, and even eat breakfast. Some days I could probably have a full 3-course meal. But after around exit 5, everything runs smoothly (at least until I hit I-85 and that’s a whole other story).

So this morning I decided to experiment with public transportation. I packed my things and drove over to the Mansell Park & Ride lot. Once parked, I looked up and realized a bus was just. pulling. away. Ugh. So I waited another 15 minutes for the next bus. After handing over my $1.75, the driver gave me a bus-to-rail transfer. Sweet! I guess I initially thought I’d have to pay again at the train station.

Then I realized that even though I was on the bus, I was STILL stuck in traffic. Silly MARTA. Why don’t you have dedicated bus lines on the highway like other cities? I’d totally give up my transfer thingy for that. Riding did have a nice feature, though: I did doze off for a little while. It took about 20 minutes to get to the train station, then I rode to Midtown where I got off and hopped on the Tech trolley into campus. Total cost = $1.75. Total time spent = 1 hour and 45 minutes.

I guess the driving expenses I incur one way would be approximately $3 for gas and $.50 for tolls, plus wear and tear and all the horrible awful no-good stuff I’m doing to the environment. But still, I did just pay another $560 for my parking space, so while MARTA’s not too terrible, I’ll probably stick with driving for now.


§ 10 Responses to The great MARTA experiment

  • Amber says:

    You have to pay $560 to park at school?? That is insane. I just didn’t even think about having to pay for something like that.

  • Danielle says:

    I do not envy your commute but I sure can relate! Until we moved to ATL I was commuting 35 miles each way to work in DC Traffic. Triple Ick. I still have a bit of a drive (10 miles each way Decatur to Chamblee) but even on its worst days it is a dream compared to the two years of aforementioned hell!

  • cyanbane says:

    I have been working on a photo exhibit while I sit on 400 between exits 9 and 6 going south with my cell phone camera. Basically I try to spot anyone who has anything above their back seat (in between the back seats and the rear window). 75% of the time this ends up being pics of the rear of the car with Kleenex, but there are a few cars with really odd stuff (ranging from black panther memorabilia to insanely overdone collections of beenie babies. One day I am gonna create a picture pool or website where people can SMS the pics to for posting, or have a site with a picture of the driver and a multiple choice of 4 photos or random stuff in backwindows where the user has to choose what was in that person’s rear window.

    Anything to pass the time. Atleast coming home (north) is a breeze now.

  • Joeventures says:

    Congratulations on taking your first step.

    As to why MARTA doesn’t have dedicated lanes, that’s really a question for GDOT.

  • c.j. says:

    at least you know you’re well trained.
    orlando: 94 F
    atlanta: 62 C-

  • duane says:

    Maybe when your parking spot expires this time, either you won’t be living OTP, OR, you can drive to the north station and just take the train in.

    I used to take it every day to GA State, and it really wasn’t that bad. It was actually kinda nice not having to sit in traffic and worry about parking (even though, that isn’t an issue for you).

  • Smoove D says:

    If the citizens of Fulton, DeKalb, and the City of Atlanta vote to approve an extension of the one penny MARTA sales tax, maybe MARTA could afford to build those bus only lanes you wish for. Write your county commissioner and city council person if you feel that strongly.

    Because the aforementioned citizens are a bunch of cheap bastards, that is approximately as likely as the Falcons winning the Superbowl next year. So, in the interim, I’ll be happy to sell you my place – it’s ITP, a ten minute walk from a MARTA rail station, and near several art galleries, bars and restaurants. The downside is, we have two to three carjackings per month. I’ll let it go for $450,000.

  • mingaling says:

    Cheap bastards indeed. Or they could do what my hometown does – just jack up the toll prices and put more tollbooths along the way.

    And thanks for the offer. The ex and I had actually considered that area when we first moved here, but I think your nickname for the place is spot on: Ghettoberry.

  • scotty says:

    Wow. I don’t miss *that* about the ATL for sure. But seriously, wouldn’t it be cheaper to just pay a bit more for an apartment in Midtown and walk to work? That parking seems hellaspensive. They just threw a huge fit here at work because they raised the monthly car parking fee from 10 to 20 euros!!! Sheesh. Diplomats…

    I lived in Inman Park for 2 years with no car. Fortunately, I worked at Arts Center MARTA station, so I could do a subway only commute. Before that, I worked in Cobb county and had to do 2 subway lines and 2 CCT lines. Can you say hell? I knew you could…

    Right now I work 5 miles from my house and ride the subway. While I’m underground, I probably pass by the dwellings of 300,000 people. THis is, unfortunately, the only way MARTA can be truly useful: density. Since that is not going to happen in the ATL, I don’t know what to do to save/improve MARTA. Certainly more regular service on bus routes and dedicated intown lanes for buses would help a lot, because, seriously, who could ride that bus up Claremont and not want to kill?

  • scotty says:

    Oh, and I hear you about Ghettoberry. What up with that? Priced like Buckhead with only twice the danger and half the crackheads.

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