What I Learned Taking MARTA for One Day – Jenny Bartee

Here’s my experience taking transit to my job in downtown Atlanta from my home in Smyrna on Thursday, March 5, 2020. I work 14 miles from where I live and it usually takes about 30 minutes, though with no traffic I can make it in 20 and it sometimes has taken up to 45.      

I left the house at 8:15 am and drove to the easiest MARTA station for me to reach, H. E. Holmes. Getting to it entailed taking I-285 South to I-20 East to the first exit, at which MARTA was almost directly in front of me.  I had trouble getting my Breeze card, first trying the temporary one I had from an earlier trip and then the refillable one I had, neither of which worked.  The machine at the station rejected my credit card, so I used cash. 

The train was late getting to the station.  There were mechanical problems, and the train was re-oriented to run on the opposite side from those who waited to board.  It left the station, then backed up and slowly switched to our track. 

After finally boarding and going to the Five Points station, I disembarked and looked around for where to catch the train headed south as I had one stop before my office in that direction. It was not apparent which way to go, so I made some wrong turns, going up stairs and then down, but eventually found my way to the right train.  After leaving to walk the two blocks to my office, I discovered it was raining.  Luckily, I had my umbrella – but the wind was whipping it around, and eventually I did make it intact albeit with the cold rain having soaked my pants.  It took about 1 ½ hours to get to work.

The way home was much smoother.  No rain to contend with and both trains I took were on time.  After driving back from the station to home, I had made it in one hour, even after exiting the station in the wrong direction and taking a while to locate my car!

Driving to Atlanta takes much less time and effort, but many in Smyrna lack the resources to go by car.  We should make public transportation a viable option for more or our residents, so that they will choose to take transit, a better choice for equity and environmental reasons.

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