Thursday, May 1, 2008

Marta Tips for IRA and other Atlanta tourist

So I assume most people coming into town for the International Readers Association May 4- 8 will be using Marta, Atlanta's public transportation system.
1. because gas prices are crazy
2. Atlanta traffic is crazy
3. Everything you will need to get to is accessible by Marta

So here are some very useful information and tips about riding Marta.

Paying for Marta
1. Cost is $2.00
2. Unlike N.Y or San Fran where you swipe the card ( I have no idea what DC does) in Atlanta its a tap system. Just tap n go. You also have to tap to get out of the station, which is totally crazy but whatever. And no the tap to get out doesn't cost
3. NY has the Metro Card, Atlanta has the Breeze Card. For those of you who have never used public transportation, tokens are obsolete. Every city with a pubic transportation system has a card system they use. The breeze card cost you can either pay .50 for a temporary card or $5.00 for a permanent card, after you purchase the card you can add rides. If you are in town for a convention you really only need the temporary card, you can't reload it but you can put enough money on it for a few days
3. Buying a Breeze Card, the machines are set up to take credit cards, but just in case its down make sure you have cash. I forget this one simple rule the last time I had to reload my breeze card and screwed myself. To begin any transaction just hit the screen. Every station has Marta workers to help.
4. Avoid using large bills (unless you wanna feel like you won big at the slot machines) because the Marta machines give back dollar coins. We get tourist in sometimes with pockets filled with dollar coins.
5.Free Bus Transfer

Five Points is Atlanta's version of 42nd street all trains stop there. However Atlanta is like DC when it comes to how many train lines there are, 2
There is the Northbound -Southbound line and the Eastbound -Westbound line,
The Omni, GA Dome etc are on the Eastbound Westbound Line
Peachtree Center Lenox Mall Buckhead are on the Northbound Southbound Line, If you're going to Lenox make sure the train says Doraville station not Northsprings the northbound line splits.
At Five Points the trains open on both sides, it doesn't matter which side you exit from. Some times when exiting Marta, the people getting on do not want to give you space to get off. If you're standing at the door getting ready to exit the train and they still don't give you room ( and they give you a whatever I aint moving look) feel free to throw some bows (elbows, it feels good to give an elbow once in a while when someone refuses to give you room to exit.) You will probably get cussed at if you decide to do this so be prepared, but you can always cuss back plus the people getting off with you got your back, in a verbal fight that is, anything physical and you're on your own. Also if the person looks a little unstable keep your elbows to yourself.

MARTA single tracks on the weekends. If you are going back to the airport I'd suggest you leave an hour earlier than you want.
Now I know how it is when visiting a new city you want to look cute, but please if you plan on riding Marta go for comfortable casual ( no heals ladies) I've seen many a dressed up tourist, looking worn down pissed and frumpled waiting for a delayed train. A good outfit wasted only person happy in that situation is the dry cleaner

Marta stops at the airport. Its the last stop on the Southbound line. So if you decide to ride Marta to your hotel, you shouldn't have a problem finding room for your bags. If you're in town for international readers association or any convention for that matter and your hotel is in Atlanta chances here its on Marta.
When getting on Marta from the airport all the trains are heading Northbound. All trains will stop at Peachtree Center. If your hotel is at the Omni you must transfer at five points to train going westbound. (I forgot how many stops)

The People
Sometimes people on Marta stare, I have no idea why they just do.
Like any other public transportation its best to avoid eye contact
Always have something to do, read, knit, listen to music whatever. This keeps you from having unwanted conversations and trains seems to come faster when you have something to do
Please do not hold on to your friend unless you are a seasoned train surfer because you will fall and the regular riders will be watching and we will laugh.

Marta is actually perfect if you are in town for a convention. Like I said before Atlanta traffic is crazy, and your hotel is probably right on a Marta line. You can easily get to restaurants and cabs can be found.

Please Do Not go walking around Five Points. If your friend told you to check it out they are not your friend. There is nothing to see at Five Points. The only thing you should be doing there is transferring trains or getting on the shuttle to the Braves games. Do not leave the station to walk around there is nothing to see. Same goes for the Underground which is located at Five Points. There is absolutely to see in the Underground. Nothing.

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