How to Get Around Atlanta

January 15, 2013 by

Local Guides, Travel Tips


Atlanta. Photo courtesy of claygast.

For those traveling there, public transportation will solve the problem of how to get around Atlanta. While many locals find it difficult to get to places like work and the grocery store via the bus and train, Atlanta has a helpful service for those looking to get to and from hotels and major attractions.

The main option for public transportation in Atlanta is the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) trains and buses, which operate mainly in the Fulton and DeKalb counties and make it easy to get to hotels, the airport and major attractions like the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Atlanta Braves Games and Six Flags Over Georgia. In total, there are 38 train stations and over 91 bus routes covering more than 1,000 miles.

If you’re arriving into Atlanta via the airport, you can opt to use the Atlanta Airport Shuttlewhich services downtown, midtown and Buckhead hotels, restaurants and conventions with fixed routes as well as door-to-door service. Depending where you’re going these shuttles cost between $16.50 and $20.50. Another option is to use MARTA, which is located right off baggage claim. The train can have you in downtown Atlanta in 20 minutes and costs $2.50 one way, while taking a taxi will cost about $30 for the same route and often takes much longer.

To use MARTA, you’ll need to first purchase a Breeze Card for $1 at any of the 38 rail stations, a MARTA Ridestore in the Airport or Five Points or on the MARTA website. From there, you’ll put the amount you want onto the card. While each trip costs $2.50 one-way, you can save money by purchasing more trips at once like 20 trips for $42.50, a 1-day pass for $9, a 2-day pass for $14, a 3-day pass for $16, a 4-day pass for $19, a 7-day pass for $23.75 or a 30-day pass for $95. Keep in mind to enter and exit the stations you will need to tap your Breeze Card. If you’re unsure of where you’re going, you can use MARTA’s schedules and route planners for guidance.

Along with the usual offenses like carrying weapons, smoking, littering and vandalizing, it is also illegal to eat and drink—unless the liquid is in a resealable plastic container—on MARTA and could result in a citation. While times vary by route and transport option, the bus and train generally run from 5am until 1am, although check to make sure before planning a route.

There are a number of other small transit systems in Atlanta, like the Buckhead Uptown Connection which takes commuters in between MARTA stations and Buckhead’s many hotels and shopping centers for free. There’s also the Gwinnett Country Transit and Cobb Community Transit which aim to the serve the locals in the community. Visitors to Atlanta will mainly rely on MARTA.

In the near future, the city will also be getting an Atlanta Streetcar service which will connect the city’s major attractions.

Many people find taxis a convenient transportation option, and Atlanta has over 1,600 licensed taxis. Moreover, although there is heavy traffic in the city there are more than 45 miles of bike lanes, with the current plan aiming to have 226 miles by 2020. To map out your route, you can use Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s “Ride The City” route-finding tool. Doing an Atlanta Segway tour is also an option for getting around and seeing Atlanta’s attractions.

-Jessica Festa

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