Tag Archives: marta

An important civic conversation about Keith Parker, MARTA’s new general manager

28 Feb

Keith-Parker-10-16-2012.jpg

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MARTA in the movies

12 Feb

MARTA has played a bit part in a few films over the years, whether Atlanta is a cheap location for a film set in some other city or explicitly acknowledged. There’s the very memorable hijacking of a MARTA bus at the beginning of Burt Reynolds’ Sharky’s Machine (1978), memorable mainly in the sense that everything that happens after this point is excruciatingly unmemorable. sharkys machine

Kim Bassinger takes it in The Real McCoy (1993) after she’s just been released from jail where she was doing time for a botched bank robbery, now on MARTA and on her way to new life, a fresh start. We’ve all been there before.
the real mccoy

MARTA is hilariously rebranded as “NARTA” in Livin’ Large! (1991). Livin’ Large was shot all over the city, so if you’re really into that, be our guest.
livin large

The most felicitous use of MARTA, however, is in the truly terrible 1985 movie you’ve never heard of, The Heavenly Kid. Continue reading

Alternatives to public transit

15 May

While MARTA is famous for being MARTA, there are lots of other little lesser-known transportation services running in metro Atlanta that are realer than the streetcar, BeltLine’s transit component, and Stonecrest monorail – for example, Buford Highway’s jitneys, Decatur’s pedicabs, and the Jesus Come Into My Life bus service. We’ve seen these buses traveling in a pack through Downtown before, but were never fast enough with the camera phone to capture the moment.

Then this weekend a map/transit nerd reader who shares with us an appreciation for Google Maps’ street view sent us this:

While you’re googling the Jesus Come Into My Life bus schedule and routes, watch the first minute or so of the following super 8 footage to see MARTA rail in the very early 1980s.

Life after the 45

26 Sep

Y’all, we rode the #45 for the last time on Friday! I made my old pal from the 45 (no longer a resident of Atlanta) fly down for the event and get on at his same bus stop for the sake of consistency and nostalgia. It was the same as always  in the morning – Grady kids with backpacks in the seats next to them, looking at you like you are the hugest creep in the world if you are forced to sit next to them because there are no other available seats.

The 45 will always have a special place in my heart. When I didn’t want to be burdened by using three different parking garages throughout the day or being a sweaty mess from biking, the 45 was my first real MARTA experience, and I think it is probably the gentlest, easiest start for a MARTA beginner. The route was tree-lined and beautiful, most everyone on there was just going to or from their Midtown office jobs or school, the morning bus driver lived for his job, and I often ran into people I knew.

There weren’t the highs and lows of other bus routes that go by dialysis centers or Boulevard. The craziest thing I ever experienced on the 45 was just that there was a terrible odor one afternoon and the bus driver had to stop by Trader Joe’s and search the bus for the source of the smell, but no one could find it. That’s pretty low key.

MARTA still has an accidental homage to the route on its schedule page.

I will never forget you, my fellow 45 riders – older man with the running shoes, and younger guy with the WABE bag, and other guy with just brown hair, and lady with the paper bag, and woman with the mauve trench coat, and Grady High School students who sagged your neon skinny jeans so it looked like you pooped your pants, and cool urban mom with the giant stroller, and city planner for my old NPU, and the Jesus Greaser, and all the other riders who came and went from my life on the 45. Maybe we should all start a Facebook group and have an annual reunion where we rent a charter bus and ride it from the Candler Park station to Midtown station and back.

Update: Read Maria Saporta’s tribute to the 45, including some great history (that precedes 2007) of the route.

Previously: Transit happenstance

Transit happenstance

7 May

From the Briarcliff Plaza parking lot, I witnessed one of the most beautiful urban moments I’ve ever seen in Atlanta: an eastbound #2 MARTA bus, a westbound #2, a northbound #16, and a southbound #16, all waiting first in line at their respective red traffic lights at Ponce and North Highland.

There must be a German word, or Baltimore slang, for when this happens!

I will be a corporate whore for MARTA

17 Feb

You know, I don’t take Transit TV lightly. If you don’t use MARTA then you have no idea how irritating it is to see the same ads for 20ColegioEnPJs.com and a pyramid scheme run by the sheriff from Murder, She Wrote that involves selling $60 novelty sail boat lamps, over and over in a screen right in front of your face when all you want to do is just get to work without eye contact from the Jesus Greaser.

But I endure Transit TV because I understand MARTA’s got to pay the bills and no one in our sleazy state legislature is going to do that for them, and I also understand that those temper tantrums I was throwing in my car by the time I got to mile two of my three mile commute every morning was no way to live my life. And if the All-American Rejects’ record company is going to keep my trains running every ten minutes by playing the video for their new single on an endless loop with the sound off for a week straight, then whatever.

Then I saw a bit in a NY Times article about rising public transit ridership and declining state and local budgets to meet this need. Emphasis mine:

Beverly A. Scott, general manger of Marta, the Atlanta system, said as the sales tax revenue continued to drop, she was weighing everything from fare increases to service cuts to even selling the naming rights to stations — but she still hopes for more state support.

I hadn’t heard of this possible move yet in any of the other coverage of MARTA’s financial desperation. I had heard that MARTA might totally cut my bus route sometime this summer though, the thought of which immediately fills me with all the anxiety of three months’ worth of sweaty road rage. You know what, I will be happy to take a bus with a wraparound ad for Attorney Ken “One Call, That’s All” Nugent on the “DeVry University at Cobb Galleria” bus route pumping Snuggies commericals in Spanish on Transit TV, and get off at the “Fruitopia Strawberry Passion Awareness Station” every day to not have to rake my car over Midtown’s perpetually corrugated roads. I am not going to be like some outraged 30 Rock fan crying about McFlurry product placement when MARTA totally sells out.

Actually, I hope this naming rights scheme does happen, and I hope Tyler Perry, in a fit of the grandest egomania yet, buys the rights to all the stations so he can be honored at 37 Tyler Perry’s MARTA Stations by Tyler Perry. Each one could be named after a movie he made in 2008.

Previously: I demand MARTA fashion

I demand MARTA fashion

4 Feb

I get a lot (= 3) of fan mail from fellow MARTA patrons who know what’s up. And I’ve been jealously watching from afar all the support that cycling gets from the design community WHICH IS FINE, because bikes are cool, but I think it’s high time for a pro-MARTA t-shirt, not unlike the ones Epidemik Coalition did for the Atlanta Bicycle Campaign or Sopo Bikes.

I’m not saying the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority would sanction such a tee, I’m just saying I would buy one and wear it if they existed.

Look at these Breeze Card Air Force Ones!

Previously: Trauma: Life on MARTA

Trauma: Life on MARTA

27 Jan

A few weeks ago, I saw a BOLO flyer up on MARTA for a man who had apparently escaped from the V.A. hospital in Decatur wearing nothing but his hospital-issue nightgown and robe, waist-length dreads, and some white sneakers. The best part was that this man was born in 1918! 1918! Oh, and his middle name is Venus. Who was handing out the middle name Venus 90 years ago? If you see him, call the V.A. hospital police department.

If there’s one thing you can count on in Atlanta, it’s that if you are on a MARTA route that passes by a hospital you are going to see some chilling things at the hospital stop, especially in the mid-afternoon.

Today I saw a man get on the bus by the Atlanta Medical Center dressed in blue paper E.R. pajamas with wounds all over his face and a giant gauze bandage starting to peel off of his cheek.

This all goes to say: wash your hands after you take public transit.

Previously: This week in MARTA-themed remixes

Made for prepaid

20 Jan

I had a whole love letter to MARTA brewing in my head this afternoon, but then I was left waiting for the bus for, I don’t know, 20 extra minutes to get home. I lost track of time because I was more preoccupied with watching the temperature drop from 25°F to 23° to 22° to 21° on the Five Points Coke sign than counting the minutes passing. Maybe when my face (and heart) thaw I will re-summon the favorable words I had for public transit and post it here.

But still, I can’t be in Five Points without noticing something amusing. Windy days whip up all the litter downtown and make it look even rougher, as you can see below in the photo where I noticed this (new?) sign for a V-Mobile store that perhaps was inspired by Crunch’s.

Previously: Five Points signage

Localize your life

28 Sep

Local designer Ted Ullrich of Epidemik Coalition put together “Localize Your Life,” an ad hoc photo series of Atlanta’s empty gas stations to document “the state of things here.” It’s kind of terrifying. Here’s his sort-of statement of intent, if you will.


For those of you popping your MARTA cherry in the face of empty gas tanks, you can also use Google Transit and Citizens for Progressive Transit’s A-TRAIN trip planner to figure out how to get around. Mass transit is easier than you think! And if you can get over the initial anxiety of being beholden to someone else’s schedule when planning your trips, it’s a very calming experience to not have to be the one behind the wheel when traversing Atlanta’s gouged roads.

Previously: Bitch, You Ride the MARTA Bus

Downtown crackdown

9 Sep

Now that this no pandhandling ordinance is being seriously enforced, yesterday I noticed more cops than usual downtown around Woodruff Park, and saw someone getting arrested, and spotted piles of these little Central Atlanta Progress/United Way cards in places where panhandlers might try to congregate, like inside the Smoothie King in Fairlie-Poplar:

That’s it, you guys. This is going to be the year that I turn my life around! I can feel it.

(I mean, I still got asked for change twice within two blocks, but still.)

But now it seems like they’re cracking down on everything, according to someone named Dreadlord:

So…
I just got a citation from Atlanta representing their environmental court’s intention to prosecute me for eating french fries within the entrance to the Five Points MARTA station. $25-60.

Oh no! So the City of Atlanta can issue these citations, and not MARTA? I know that you can’t eat or drink on MARTA, but nothing of this “within the entrance” business. I carry my Aurora cup with me on MARTA all the time and none of the MARTA cops bat an eye. But maybe because I am not in a crappy “tourist district” when toting the coffee because THERE IS NO DECENT COFFEE DOWNTOWN.

Newsflash: Driving Sucks in Atlanta

12 Jun

So gas is getting ridiculously expensive, and it’s hot as crap so you have to run your AC or else get to work with all your makeup sweated off, and to really top things off, random traffic lights all around the city keep going out for no apparent reason.  I’m not sure what exactly is going on, but it’s like there are traffic demons running around lately.  Last night, the North Highland/North Avenue light was out, and although we all know it’s supposed to be a 4 way stop, you still have those occasional bungholes who decide to just slip through with the car in front of them.  Clearly no one will notice some giant dumbass GMC Yukon hauling it through the intersection!  Right?  And last weekend, the light at Freedom Parkway and Ponce was out, and there was a nasty traffic accident as a result.  Because again, people are too stupid to know how to handle when these things happen, and apparently there are too many cops assigned to the road work off of North Highland and Morningside and they can’t spare any to direct traffic when major lights go out.  And to top it all off, there are about 50 million ineffective “road patches” all over the dang city that basically blow your tires out every time your run over them.  Seriously.  One word:  INFRASTRUCTURE.  Learn it.  Live it.  Embrace it.  This city is too big for this shit.  I love you Atlanta, but please please please, either make Marta smarta, or fix the roads.  I’m begging.  And I apologize for writing a blog post that mirrors an extended version of somebody’s Vent rant.  Seriously.  My only defense is that WABE is doing an excellent and rather academic series about Atlanta and the rising cost of transportation

This week in MARTA-themed remixes

4 Jun


Ludachrist (not to be confused with Ludacris, although one half of the duo hails from Atlanta’s Evol Intent) has gone and done a remix of the famous YouTube video of Soulja Girl’s tirade on MARTA. Don’t worry, she was arrested – but MARTA will spend the next year repairing the damage done to its image. The remix is as harrowing as the original.

Previously: PSA: Your summer jam

It looks like public transit IS sexy after all

3 Feb

If I did marketing and PR for MARTA, every ad or press release would have some allusion to “In the Air Tonight.” Or Tangerine Dream.

TBS plays Risky Business about three times a week, so I would just let the powers of association in the minds of Atlantans do the rest.

Previously: Bitch, You Ride the MARTA Bus

Quotable Marta patrons

16 Jan

Yesterday, on the Inman Park Marta station platform, as the second out of service train within five minutes whooshed by us:

“Welcome to Atlanta, where the players play,
And the trains keep runnin’ aaaaaaaaaaaaallllll day.
But at night, we in trouble.”

– a guy to another guy he didn’t know

Like a virgin

7 Jan

Two years ago, some guy named Travis from Cedar Rapids, Iowa visited his friend in Atlanta and was like really really excited about taking Marta. So he made his friend film the entire experience and he uploaded it onto YouTube.

The first video is Travis and his friend (behind the camera) taking a new train from the airport to East Point at 7:42 A.M. The second video is the guy and his friend taking an old train from East Point to the airport at 7:50 A.M. His friend was sad because the only place he didn’t get to take Travis was the World of Coke. Travis is sad because he has to go back to work tomorrow and write papers for grad school, but his favorite part of the trip was going to his friend’s high school football game. Every day is an opening day! City lights and southern nights! Etc!

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