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Posts tagged with MARTA

In your quest to find the best and rarest Pokémon, you will need to travel and explore beyond your house and neighborhood. Fans of the original Pokémon show and games know that exploration is the core of Pokémon. After all, the hero Ash couldn’t become the very best (like no one ever was) without leaving Pallet Town — and neither can you.

But, just like in the game and show, this exploration carries some risks. You probably won’t run into a wild angry Gyarados or a sleeping Snorlax blocking your path, but if you try to catch Pokémon while driving, you may get a ticket or cause an accident. So how can you cover the most ground in your Pokémon quest — not only in finding more Pokemon but also traveling enough distance to incubate eggs? Here’s an idea: Try transit.

Like Ash’s friends Misty and Brock, who help him along his journey to becoming a Pokémon Master, you too have friends who can help you on your quest to become the very best yourself! Their names are Train and Bus.

Known hotspots for Pokémon Go along MARTA rail routes:

-          Downtown (Five Points, Peachtree Center, GSU)

-          Piedmont Park (Midtown Station)

-          Lenox Mall

-          Oakland Cemetery (King Memorial Station)

-          Downtown Decatur

Pokémon are more likely to spawn in denser, historic parts of town. This means that you must explore the different neighborhoods of Atlanta in order to catch them all, and MARTA can get you to many of these hotspots quickly, cheaply, and safely. So, unless you’re satisfied catching Zubats, Pidgeys, and Ratatas forever, bring some friends along and go catch a MARTA train to your destination of choice and fulfill your destiny!

If you need any more help in finding good spots around town, you can use this map to find all the Pokémon Gyms and Stops around Atlanta. And if you find a rare Pokémon on a MARTA bus or train, take a picture and tag #itsMARTA when you upload it!

POKEMON GO MEETUP!

Join Georgia Commute Options and MARTA at the Midtown Station on Saturday, July 30 from 2 – 5 p.m. 

Walk up, chat, and get tips for taking MARTA to catch the best Pokemon. The first 50 people to visit will receive a free battery pack to keep that smartphone running! We’ll also be giving out MARTA cards, MARTA maps, and other swag.

Join us and catch ‘em all!



MARTA Uses Satire To Poke Fun At Atlanta Traffic

There’s a new movement for transit in the Atlanta region, and it comes with a hilarious new ad campaign. Click through for some good natured traffic bashing in the spirit of promoting transit.

And you know, commuting via transit can really pay off for you—in the form of cash and prizes from Georgia Commute Options! Learn here about how you can earn up to $150 if you make the switch to transit or another alternative to driving alone.

 

PATH Foundation Seeks To Add 37 Miles of Trails Around Atlanta

ATLANTA, GA -- The PATH Foundation is celebrating its 25th anniversary with plans to add 37 new miles of trails.

The PATH Foundation has spent the past 25 years building a network of off-road trails in and around Atlanta for walkers, runners, cyclists and skaters. Since walking and cycling are two of our favorite commute modes, we’re excited about more trail space coming to our region.

Click through to read about PATH’s goals for funding their trail extensions. Then consider making walking or biking part of your daily trip to work!

Working From Home: How to Be a Productivity Ninja

It’s no secret that we’re totally on board with telework. It gets cars off the road, improves work-life balance, and gives you back the time you’d normally be stuck behind the wheel.

But how do you go from Telework Novice to Telework Ninja? This article has some tips—everything from streamlining your office space (feng shui, anyone?) to dressing for the day (tuck in that shirt, Gary), to scheduling regular breaks (long live the sacred hourly cupcake ritual).

Paying attention to the details is the best way to make telework work for you and your boss. And if your workplace doesn’t yet have a telework policy, we can help you build one! Learn more here.



MARTA Army Taking Aim at Chamblee

MARTA Army, a grassroots organization focused on boosting MARTA ridership, is making strides in Chamblee. Most of MARTA Army’s work focuses on the “adopt a bus stop” initiative which assigns bus stops to individual commuters and makes them responsible for posting valuable route and timetable information. But the Army has begun expanding its work by working with Chamblee officials to set up crowd-funding for transit amenities—namely, bus stop benches.

Find out how riding transit can earn you rewards here.

Singing Trees Coming to Your Commute

Do you use the Atlanta BeltLine to commute by bike or foot? If so, you could soon catch a glimpse of the “If Trees Could Sing” project, coordinated by the Nature Conservancy and Trees Atlanta.

The project outfits trees along the path with signs bearing info and a QR code. Scan the code with your smartphone, and you’ll get a little testimonial from a popular musician.

“I am happy to capture the interest of Atlanta BeltLine enthusiasts with the importance of forest conservation in such a creative way,” said Deron Davis, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Georgia.

And don’t forget, you walk-and-bike commuters could earn cash and prizes from Georgia Commute Options. Learn more here.

MARTA Board Chair Discusses How to Fund New Projects

So, the bill allowing voters to approve funds for a MARTA expansion in Atlanta and Fulton County cleared the General Assembly last week. Now what?

According to MARTA Board Chair Robbie Ashe, the next task is making the case for voters.

Step one: Develop a project list that can be made public by May 31.

Step two: Get the word out. “I am sure the fall will be full of community meetings,” Ashe said. “Public opinion surveys tell us Atlantans want more transit, and they want it now. That’s why what happened at the General Assembly is such a powerful thing, because this give us the opportunity to deliver it to them.”

Why do we love this news? Because MARTA expansion means more chances for metro Atlanta commuters to take transit and get cars off the road! (You know, you don’t even have to wait if you don’t want to. Switch to transit and we’ll give you $5 a day for giving it a try. Learn more here.)



I’m Baaack! I ride transit because it makes CENTS for me and can even be relaxing. Plus, I get to pocket the savings for my favorite hobbies – eating, traveling and clearance shopping (did someone say shoes?)! I even have curb service right in my neighborhood for those days I want to stay parked.  

You can find me on the MARTA line in my “cutie off-duty shoes,” as my colleague calls them, listening to music, reading, or daydreaming about my next splurge from my savings.

So, what is the big deal with having a calendar monthly or 30-day unlimited ride MARTA pass? Well let me tell you. I get to eat, work, and play all on MARTA. Just to show you, I chronicled my ventures, excluding my daily commute to the office, on MARTA for a month:

  • April 8: Business dinner with colleague
  • April 9: Stand Up 4 Transportation Rally at MARTA Five Points Station
  • April 10: Car left at Firestone (Lenox) for repair; take train to work
  • April 11:Dogwood Festival at Piedmont Park
  • April 13: Commuter Event in Midtown
  • April 17:University Earth Day in Midtown
  • April 22: Lunch with colleagues in Midtown
  • April 28: Social outing in City of Decatur
  • April 29: Georgia Commute Options Commute Honors awards breakfast in Downtown Atlanta
  • May 1: Doc appointment at Emory
  • May 3: Atlanta Women’s Expo at Georgia World Congress Center
  • May 6: Business meeting at Starbucks in Buckhead
  • May 7: Quick run to the post office at Buckhead Loop
  • May 8: Business lunch in Midtown

What Next:

Try it! Remember to check the MARTA On the Go App for schedules and the electronic information signs in the rail stations to make sure you don’t get left behind. 

In the words of my favorite scholar, Dr. Seuss, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go… you can steer yourself any direction you choose.”  

Tanya is marketing lead for MARTA’s Partnership Program assisting metro Atlanta companies with transit commuting solutions. She is a 14-year MARTA rider and advocate. To learn how your company can offer MARTA passes visit: itsmarta.com/employer. Read her first blog article here: Confessions of a Reformed Car-holic!



I am a reformed “car-holic.” I used to give my money, time and energy away freely. All of this happened during the most critical period of each day: my commute to work in my car. Driving alone (single occupancy) in my car, I would burn fuel, wear out my brakes, create tension and waste my time in traffic.

Then I began working at MARTA. Riding MARTA opened an entire new way of life for me. I start and end my day in peace as I listen to music, read books, play brain games and catch up on my emails. Decreasing my costs of car maintenance, fuel and insurance doesn’t hurt either. Being a MARTA employee has enabled me to work with metro Atlanta companies and commuters to provide this same serenity by offering transit benefits as a part of their compensation benefits package.

The personal benefits of riding MARTA to work far outweigh those of sitting in traffic. To name just a few:

  • More Money for Things I Love: I get to use the money saved for travel, a night out with friends or shopping.
  • Harmonious Work and Personal Relationships: Because I get to read and relax on MARTA I arrive to work and home in a more positive mood.
  • Melting the Pounds Away: Using transit contributes to my workout plan. Walking to and from my car and in the stations actually adds a mile of activity to my daily exercise.
  • Productive at Work: Because I don’t waste emotional energy dealing with the tension of driving, I arrive mentally clear.
  • More Informed and Intelligent: While commuting I get to catch up on news, reading, social media and the latest music. It also gives me time to organize my day.
  • Get Caffeine and Find New Eateries: I have found some great coffee spots to get a quick “cup of joe,” lunch or dinner right on the MARTA line. I have become the dining advisor for friends. 

  Companies love offering their employees transit benefits too. Some of these benefits include:

  • Recruitment/Retention Tool: MARTA as part of a compensation package is appealing to new hires and assists in retaining top talent.
  • Parking Lot Cost Reduction: More employees taking transit means less driving and parking, which saves on spaces and maintenance.
  • Health and Wellness Program Inclusion: Studies show commuting on transit contributes to increased physical activity.
  • More Money, More Money, More Money! Most companies contributing toward the cost of employee passes are eligible for a federal and state business tax deduction.

As the saying goes, “There is light at the end of the tunnel,” and it’s a MARTA train ready to start your commute and change your life.   

Tanya is marketing lead for MARTA’s Partnership Program assisting metro Atlanta companies with transit commuting solutions. She is a 14-year MARTA rider and advocate. To learn how your company can offer MARTA passes, visit: itsmarta.com/employer



When I was transferred to Atlanta five years ago, I knew from previously living here that I had to make housing choices that worked with the MARTA rail system. I was not prepared to return to a life behind the wheel driving to work. I went online and used the rail map for MARTA to limit my search for housing. I ended up living in Alpharetta so that I could use MARTA for both a quick bus ride down to the North Springs rail station and a train the rest of the way to work.

I work in the heart of downtown Atlanta, but my 32-mile drive is now a peaceful 5 minutes behind the wheel to the Park and Ride lot at Windward Parkway.

In the five years I have been back, I have never driven to work — not once. I buy gas once or twice a month, and that is more for personal driving than the little I drive to reach MARTA. No parking fees, no gas, no stress. I think the "no stress" part is what I appreciate the most. Arriving at work relaxed and already caught up on the morning email is a nice bonus to saving pollution, gas, and vehicle expenses.

Darrell is a 25,000 Commuter Champion and works for the Social Security Administration. To learn more about the Commuter Champion program, visit GaCommuteOptions.com/champions.



For the past 30 years, PNC Wealth Management has put together a tongue-in-cheek price index of Christmas using the carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” We’ll take a look at the true cost of Christmas and how it compares to the cost of commuting.

The total cost of Christmas for 2014 is $27,673.21, which is 1% higher than 2013. The prices of each item are determined by different businesses specializing in each song item. For instance, a Philadelphia dance company provides the estimates for the salary of the nine “ladies dancing” and the price of a canary at Petco is used for the calling bird.

  • One Partridge in a Pear Tree: $207.68
  • Two Turtle Doves: $125.00
  • Three French Hens: $181.50, or $60.50 per hen. Instead of a hen, you could buy a 20-trip MARTA Breeze Card and still have money left over.
  • Four Calling Birds: $599.96
  • Five Golden Rings: $750.00, or about the amount you would save if you chose to carpool
  • Six Geese-a-Laying: $360.00
  • Seven Swans-a-Swimming: $7,000
  • Eight Maids-a-Milking: $58.00 – for this you could fill up an 11-gallon tank of gas twice, or drink a lot of milk
  • Nine Ladies Dancing: $7,552.84
  • Ten Lords-a-Leaping: $5,348.24
  • Eleven Pipers Piping: $2,635.20 – this is about how much it annually costs the average Metro Atlantan to drive alone to and from work each workday
  • Twelve Drummers Drumming: $2,854.80

You can check out how much your commute is costing you using our nifty Commute Calculator here. No matter what you spend on this holiday season, all of us at Georgia Commute Options wish you a happy one.

Jenny Schultz is a Communications Specialist working on the Georgia Commute Options program. When she's not at work, she spends most of her time baking, dancing, and pretending to paint her house. Jenny has a pretty sweet telework space complete with Ikea furniture, a stability ball, and a fantastic view of her backyard.



Last week, we heard Part One of John Bayalis's story (read it here) about how his life changed once he started riding MARTA. John has been living in Atlanta for about 20 years and his first 10 were spent refusing to ride MARTA. Read on for Part Two of his story.

Upon taking the plunge, I immediately noticed the following in rapid succession:

  • I was no longer dependent on my car.
  • I went from filling my tank up (14 gallons for a 1999 Honda Accord) four times a month to once, meaning I was no longer exclusively dependent on gasoline. The cost of a monthly MARTA pass was, at the time, about the same as one tank of gas, meaning I saved nearly $100 per month.
  • I was no longer dependent on planning my day around traffic patterns for leaving my office to run errands and/or get to and from work.
  • I was no longer having my day impacted by all those drivers that that had my blood boiling by the time I got to and from work.
  • My quality of life improved – I “became less intense” according to several people (and to all of them: I still don’t know what that means, but I’ll take your word for it).
  • I got work done on the train. I got work done on the bus. I read more than I had in 10 years.
  • I napped.
  • I learned about the city.
  • I learned how Atlanta can be walkable if you stop complaining, plan and use your legs for something other than getting in and out of your car.
  • I formed friendships and relationships with people at local businesses I frequented from across the system, giving life to parts of the city I never even knew existed. I welcomed the diversity of ridership.
  • I enjoyed talking to others and finding out what they thought of the system and how it could improve.
  • I began using mass transit in other cities when I would travel for work (which was extensive and for which I received constant ribbing from my fellow colleagues who also traveled). I would now never consider going to Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago or San Francisco again and renting a car or making my way by cab.
  • I felt empathy for the friends and colleagues who lacked the quality of life I now was able to take advantage of.
  • I figured out that the old stand-by that, “MARTA doesn’t go anywhere” is utter hogwash spoken mostly by people who have only ever – if ever at all – set foot on the system to go to the airport or a Braves game.
  • I learned firsthand that not only is it a safe system, MARTA has one of the lowest crime rates of any of the nine largest transit systems in the country – the worst, San Francisco’s BART, has a crime rate substantially higher than MARTA.
  • I discovered programs that reward people for using public transit like Georgia Commute Options.
  • And, finally, I learned of an obscure and oft overlooked “commuter benefit option” made available through my employer via federal law that allowed me to put money away every pay-period, pre-tax, into a transit account, making the already-lower cost of commuting by train even less costly.

Mostly, though, I learned that freeing yourself of the proscribed confines of the standard “cars = freedom” mantra so ingrained in American culture truly opens up the world and expands freedom, both within a person and to the outside world.

Life is, inevitably, about choices. Many of us ignore options that are available simply because we feel we have no choice and so remain anchored to unfounded assumptions and the voices of others who operate with limited vision and information. That is unfortunate because hard choices, life-changing choices, require a leap of faith and a suspension of long-held assumptions. I’m glad I had someone prod me to consider the options, and I am especially grateful to the 2006 version of me for listening.

Give mass transit a try. Expand your freedom.

John Bayalis has more than 10 years of experience in public affairs management, grassroots mobilization, issues advocacy and lobbying. He joined MARTA in April as Director of Government Relations after 5 years with international public relations firm Allison+Partners.



There used to be a game-show on television hosted by the late, great Dick Clark named $25,000 Pyramid. Contestants would be paired off with celebrities into teams of two and chose from a list of categories. The object of the game was for the one teammate to describe words that fit into a chosen category, and, based on those clues, for the other teammate to then correctly guess the words being described. For example, if the category was “Fruit” and the first word was lime, I might say to the guesser “small, roundish, sour, green”.

To win $25,000, the team making the final “winner’s circle” had to actually guess the categories words came from – so a little harder, but actually a lot more fun. I thought we could pretend as if we’re a team and we’ve just made the winner’s circle and we’re playing for $25K. I’ll provide some words, and you, my teammate, will have to correctly guess the category.

Here are my clues:

  • Congestion
  • Rude people
  • Life-threatening situations
  • Regular automobile maintenance required to avoid thousands of dollars in car repairs
  • Anger
  • Impatience
  • Thousands of hours in productive time wasted per year
  • Exhaustion
  • Gridlock
  • Excessive monthly motor-fuel costs
  • Chained to your car
  • Sitting at traffic signals for hours on end
  • No end in sight
  • Easily avoided by using mass transit

If you guessed “things associated with commuting by car in Atlanta,” or some derivation thereof, you and I would have just won $25,000! That’s right, you and I would each be $12,500 wealthier, but unfortunately, not wealthy enough to quit our day jobs or, more importantly, quit our commuting. Fortunately, there is an alternative to commuting by car for the sensible Atlantan…

I’ve lived in Atlanta for nearly 20 years, and for the first 10, I shared a relatively similar view to the many people I talk to now that refuse to use MARTA. The most common complaints are that it’s a limited system that “goes nowhere”, is a bad steward of public funds rife with service problems and crime and ultimately creates a bigger headache than Atlanta traffic does for daily commuters.

Then a funny thing happened. At the suggestion of my then-girlfriend/now-wife, I decided to look into this MARTA thing and see if all the anti-hype was accurate. At the time she lived near of the Edgewood-Candler Park Station, and I lived close to the Arts Center Station. “You’re always miserable at the end of the day when you drive over here and you always loathe driving back in the morning,” she would say at the time. “Why don’t you just take the train?” And despite pushing back initially for fear of the unknown, I decided that she was right and gave it a whirl.

Stay tuned for Part Two of John's blog in the coming days to see how trying out transit changed his life.

John Bayalis has more than 10 years of experience in public affairs management, grassroots mobilization, issues advocacy and lobbying. He joined MARTA in April as Director of Government Relations after 5 years with international public relations firm Allison+Partners.



In 2007, my husband and I moved to Atlanta from Mexico City and settled on Lawrenceville, which is a 25 mile commute trip. When I found out MARTA buses had bike racks and that you can ride the train with your bike, a whole new world opened for me. Mexico City subway does not allow bikes and buses are not equipped for them.

Every morning my husband drops me at the Sugarloaf Mills bus stop, I later transfer to MARTA at Lindbergh Station and then hop a train to Buckhead Station, less than a mile later I’m at work. Reverse route is the same until I arrive back at Sugarloaf Mill. Here is when the “fun” starts and I bike about four miles to get home. During this time, there are no worries. I get some sun. And a sense of freedom that feels just great.

While the bus allows me to take a short nap or work on my cross-stitch project, with zero driving stress. The relief of filling my car’s gas tank just once a week instead of three times per week is priceless.

On top of that, I was able to lose 25 pounds, which helped me become healthier and pregnant. After a short break and now that our baby girl is a little older, I’m back on my wheels. Let me tell you… there is nothing more heartwarming that seeing my baby girl waiting for me to arrive so we can ride a lap around the subdivision. That is now my favorite part of my commute!

I’m really looking forward for the Path400 Trail and add a few miles to my bike ride. Believe me, it may take a bit longer than your actual driving commute but creating a route that works for you and start riding is totally worth it!

Clara commutes from Lawrenceville to GE (Transportation Department) in Buckhead each day. She averages riding 20 miles a week. She also will ride through the Atlanta trails and paths on weekends. Check out how Clara and GE Transportation are doing in the Atlanta Bike Challenge here.



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