Navigating MARTA

Travel Tips — By gianninasmith on August 25, 2010 at 4:15 pm

If you are without a car, one of the best ways to get around Atlanta’s city center is to use the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transportation Authority (MARTA). It will save you lots of time sitting in traffic and parking costs that can run high when moving from place to place. Here is some useful information about MARTA to help you navigate your way and make sure you’re not the lost visitor on the wrong train.

Recent MARTA News: MARTA recently renamed the “yellow” line, which travels into the neighborhood of Doraville, the heart of Atlanta’s Asian community, to the “gold” line after the original name stirred controversy with Atlanta’s growing Asian-American community.

Payment system:

In order to ride MARTA you need to purchase a Breeze Card or Ticket at one of the 38 vending machines located in the rail stations or at MARTA Ridestores found throughout town.

Breeze Card: The Breeze Card is the best value for frequent and occasional MARTA riders. The card can be used on MARTA buses and trains and can be reloaded at any vending machine. A new Breeze Card is $5, which includes two free trips, and at least a one-way fare must be loaded on the card at purchase.

Breeze Tickets: Tickets expire 90 days after the date of purchase and are intended for visitors. When purchasing a ticket, whatever fare was purchased the first time—be it one-way or a number of trips—that is the only way the ticket can be reloaded the next time. A new ticket costs $0.50 and at least a one-way must be loaded on it at the time of purchase.

Step-by-step guide to purchasing a Breeze Card or Ticket:

1. Approach the ticket machines inside the station.

2. Chose between a Breeze Card or Ticket and between one ride, round-trip, multiple rides, etc.

3. Insert cash, coins or credit/debit card.

4. Your Breeze Card or Ticket will print out.

5. Approach the entrance gates and tap the card against the round blue target. Once your card or ticket is read, the gates will open and you will have access to the trains.

6. Keep your Breeze Card or Ticket on hand and tap the blue target again in order to exit the train station.

How to Ride:

MARTA isn’t as intimidating as the New York Subway system and very easy to use. There are only four, color-coded lines that travel either north and south or east and west. Probably the most convenient aspect of MARTA is how easy it makes traveling to the airport. All southbound trains end up at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, dropping passengers off inside the terminal. Luggage storage space at the end of each rail car also makes it convenient when carrying multiple suitcases. If your looking to do some sight seeing, the Arts Center Station is withing walking distance of The High Museum of Art and the Peachtree Center Stations will take you close to attractions like the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola and Centennial Olympic Park.


– Don’t board a full train if you are traveling with a bike or stroller.

– Do keep your bike or stroller out of the aisle and away from the train door.

– Don’t give train solicitors handouts; MARTA is very serious about its no-soliciting policy.

– Do look at the map before getting on the train to know where to get on and off.

– Don’t enter the track or right-of-way areas because the rail lines carry fatally high voltages.

– Do hold on to handrails—you don’t want to be the one who ate it on MARTA.


[photos courtesy of tylerwat10, Lee Coursey


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