Tips & tricks to taking public transit

For many Atlantans, the MARTA system is simply a method to avoid paying for parking at the airport. For others, though, public transit is a valuable tool to move around the city. Follow our tips to make the most out of a trip on MARTA or any other public transit system.

Get A Bike
Having a personal set of wheels, two to be exact, increases accessibility. Without the constraints of walking, the distance from a transit stop one can travel greatly increases. The MARTA bus system even accommodates cyclists: every bus has a bike storage rack on the front, making carrying a bicycle even easier.

Be on Time
Better yet, be early. Though busses and trains are scheduled to arrive at scheduled times, delays and even early arrivals are possible. The only way to make sure to catch the right bus or train is to leave plenty of buffer time.

Bring a Paperback.
Or Kindle. Or smartphone. Especially on longer bus or train rides, passengers have plenty of time to catch up on some leisure reading or beat that final level of Angry Birds. Be careful not to concentrate too hard, though; busses will not turn back for a missed stop.

Don’t Trust Google
Just because Google gives a certain route does not mean it is the perfect way to get around. Schedules provided by MARTA can be invaluable resources in finding the best bike/bus/train combo. Don’t be afraid to switch things up a bit either. It may be easier to take a bus, train, and second bus than riding just one form of transit.
Pick the right bus
And choose the correct platform. Commuting time can be lost by getting on the wrong direction and can make the difference between making a connection and not. If taking the train, make sure to board from the correct platform and be sure to get on the correct bus.

Be Courteous
A courteous manner is appreciated by other transit goers. For example, let exiting passengers off trains before boarding. Also, avoid listening to personal MP3 players with the volume set high enough for others to hear and keep phone conversations to a minimum.

Travel Light
Make sure to pack small, light bags or purses for a trek on the transit system. Not only can larger bags be burdensome, they can be a target for pickpockets and harder to watch. A small backpack or hand bag is easy to keep track of and will make transferring trains or busses a snap.

Work the Passes
MARTA passes can be significantly cheaper than individual rides, especially if the passholder makes many transit trips per day. Passes are also discounted for university students, sweetening the deal.

Buy a Breezecard
Though the $1 cost of a Breezecard turns many away, it can save money in the end. Not only will it pay for itself in two trips, the card can be reused, reducing waste.