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The Many Ignored Problems of MARTA

At the risk of sounding like Andy Rooney; what can't MARTA seem to solve any problem, even the simple problems?

In a nutshell here it is, not politically correct, but true:

MARTA still doesn't compete effectively with the time to commute by car

If people are to be incented to ride MARTA, it should take no more time or money than taking their car; since they have to give up flexibility and freedom of the car.  But unfortunately MARTRA trips take twice as long as a car ride.


  • It parallels major interstates, yet the trains travel at 40 to 60 mph, generally much slower than the traffic, not even taking into account stops at stations, parking, etc. 
  • The bulk of traffic in Atlanta comes in from the suburbs via the major interstate highways: I-75, I-85, I-20 and GA-400, and along the Perimeter (ring road, beltway) I-285.
  • The train lines end (pretty much) right at the perimeter, I-285.  yet the hundreds of thousands of commuters live past this, and have to get onto the Interstate highways anyway, to get to the MARTA station.

So, why once the commuter is in his or her car and traveling on the Interstate, would he or she pull off an exit, look for a parking spot and wait for a train, which will then travel at about half his average speed?

The process alone of driving to a MARTA station, parking, walking to the train and waiting for the train, then riding to your stop and walking to your office takes about as long as the entire drive if you stay in your car!

MARTA doesn't go where the traffic is

.... so it doesn't really reduce congestion. The stated intention of building MARTA may have been to help alleviate congestion on the roads, the competing interests for and against it from County and City governments produced a system that goes from poor areas to the airport and shopping malls.

  • Aside from poor folks who commute to jobs at the shopping malls and airport, who does MARTA serve adequately?

Winos, Panhandlers and Urine

  • Can anyone tell me why the MARTA police won't evict the bums from the trains?  Some mornings the cars reek of urine.

Delays and Breakdowns

  • For a fairly new system, MARTA seems to break quite a lot!  And since any breakdown has a ripple effect along the whole system, it doesn't take much to really slow things down

No Day Passes

  • Most major light rail and subway systems, like the London underground or tube, have daily and weekly "travelcards" that allow unlimited rides on and off during the day that  they are valid.  Why doesn't MARTA?

Employee Apathy

  • If you are lucky.  I actually prefer the apathetic MARTA zombie employees over the openly hostile ones. Does the phrase "latently Postal" mean anything?

What are others saying about MARTA?

What's your opinion?


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