it’s not smarta….

okay, a bit of a rant here, but this sunday i went to witness the hawks implosion against the washington wizards, and per my pledge i decided to ride marta to phillips arena.


first thing, all of the sporting events are off-peak so if you miss the train by 30 seconds as we did you are totally screwed while you wait another twenty minutes to get the next one.

and then when the game lets out there are absolutely NO trains waiting at the station.

what sucks about this is i know how much better it could be done. in dc, when there is a major event, they run extra trains leading up to the game on the line that runs to the mci center.

and when a game is over? there are trains just waiting, WAITING, to take the crowds home.

seriously, i really want to not drive. i want to do the responsible thing and not drive, but c’mon, can’t marta give a little?

and i would think that atlanta spirit would get on board too. if it was easier to get to, don’t you think that more people would actually go to the games????

okay, i’m done ranting….tell me why i am a fool.

20 Comments so far

  1. Paulie [eatl/ga] (unregistered) on November 13th, 2007 @ 1:08 pm

    I had the same frustrations when I waited for a train to arrive after last week’s Thrashers game. I would have been able to drive home in the time that I had to wait.

  2. Brian (unregistered) on November 13th, 2007 @ 1:09 pm

    I wonder if there is some chicken-egg phenomenon: people don’t take marta to sports events because there aren’t enough trains…and they don’t schedule trains because there aren’t enough people.

    I’ve had decent luck going to games on Marta — most recently for the pathetic Falcons-49ers spectacle, where we left early and caught a train within 3 mins of getting to the station. But I’ve also sat around for a while. Why not try contacting Marta? I’ve never tried, but sometimes organizations actually listen to customers who bother to give feedback.

  3. J S (unregistered) on November 13th, 2007 @ 2:47 pm

    That, and the fact that the MARTA doesn’t seem to go anywhere… ie if you dont’ live on Peachtree or Holmes or Dekalb Avenue you are stuck.. it is closer for me to drive to the Arena from where I live than the closest parking lot.

    I spent lot’s of time in DC and I never drive there, in fact when i go to visit 9 times out of 10 I don’t even rent a car. I can get from the airport to Capitol Hill in 5 minutes and have a nice 5 minute walk as well.

  4. Greg (unregistered) on November 13th, 2007 @ 3:40 pm

    I’ve had horrible experiences with Sunday Braves games. Bad enough that it’s Sunday service (which is utterly pitiful when single tracking was/is in place), but if you wanted to go to, say, Sandy Springs, you had *another* wait at Lindbergh for a train that apparently doesn’t come more frequently than once a day

    Don’t get me wrong, MARTA is a good idea, just a classic case study in piss poor implementation

  5. james (unregistered) on November 13th, 2007 @ 4:14 pm

    @paulie – i could have driven home, back to phillips arena and back home in the time i waited for a train.

    @brian – i’m contemplating wasting 15 minutes of myh day to write a note to marta. i know no one will read it, but it might make me feel better.

    @j.s. – i live on that corridor and it drove me crazy.

    @greg – go figure.

  6. BTI (unregistered) on November 13th, 2007 @ 9:50 pm

    First off, where’s the fire? Are you people in that big of a hurry to get home and watch Dancing with the Stars? I’ll give you ten reasons why you should still ride the train. 1.) it’s cheap (DC metro is much more expensive than marta) 2.) no DUI 3.)support of an underfunded system 4.)better for the environment 5.) safer than driving 6.) more interesting than driving 7.)gives you time to ponder why the hawks are stumbling lately 8.)it’s one place you can actually get close to on a train 9.)people ride this system everyday, you can at least do it for hawks games 10.)I’ve never had this problem
    Instead of writing this post, your efforts would have been better spent writing Bubba Purdue and demanding state funding for operating costs. Marta doesn’t run more often because it can’t afford to do so.

  7. atlpaddy (unregistered) on November 14th, 2007 @ 2:53 am

    I’m a native of Atlanta and I want to like Marta, I really do. The problem is that management at Marta essentially sucks. You could double or triple Marta’s operating budget and it would still be poorly run because the money wouldn’t go towards making it a better transit system, it would go towards other non-essential projects.

    When the people who run Marta don’t take Marta – (I’m looking at you, ex-Gwinnettian Nat Ford) and neither do the politicians charged with funding it (think you’d ever see Vernon Jones or Shirley ride Marta, I highly doubt it) – then Marta will always be the redheaded stepchild of Atlanta transit ‘options.’ Hell, even Marta encourages you to drive – every taken a look at all of the car dealer ads in the trains and stations? Pathetic.

  8. Rashid Z. Muhammad (unregistered) on November 14th, 2007 @ 9:01 am

    In MARTA’s defense, the organization is a LOT better run than it was just three years ago due to management changes. Of course they inherited a lot of legacy issues, not the least of which is the fact that the system was doomed to suck from the beginning due to three metro counties and the state opting out of funding it, but I don’t know any long time riders that don’t think the experience is vastly improved.

    With that said, people trying to catch a ride don’t care about that stuff, they care about catching the ride. What annoys me is that they seem to kill the Candler Park mini-route on Sundays. This frequently results in me spending about as much time on Sunday afternoon waiting on a train from Georgia State to Inman Park / Reynoldstown as I would actually walking down Dekalb avenue. I would just get a schedule, but in the past I’ve found them to be very inaccurate for Sundays. Maybe I’ll try again.

    What really annoys the hell out of me is the fact that their signs telling you when the next train is coming seems to die on Sundays. WTF is up with that? It’s enough to wait, but knowing when the next train is coming actually calms my nerves a bit. I just don’t understand why they would ever shut off this very useful feature.

  9. Deb A (unregistered) on November 14th, 2007 @ 10:00 am

    Ya know what would rock, is if MARTA put GPS trackers on all of their trains and buses and you could get that information via cell phone. In fact it would be cool if you could even set it up to send you a text when a train or bus hits a certain point. I use the trains alot but haven’t used a bus yet due to the certainty of how long I’ll have to wait. Take that element away, and I’d use it alot.

    It could be they can’t stack trains because they don’t have the rail capacity to do so. I mean, you if just have them sitting their waiting, then other trains can’t get around them. But in general they should have more trains in service for peak times.

    I have noticed that at some of the stations I use they are making improvement, like swapping out the old lighting fixtures and replacing them with ones that are much brighter and appear to use compact florent bulbs. So that’s nice. What isn’t so nice is the morning I got to the Oakland City station and because they were working on this project, they had cut power to both the up escalator AND the elevator. Thankfully while I have a disability I can do stairs if I must. I felt bad for any wheelchair bound folks.

  10. J S (unregistered) on November 14th, 2007 @ 11:01 am

    I would gladly take Marta than sitting in the horrible traffic every morning and evening, but it is still 4 miles from work to the nearest BUS transfer to the nearest Marta station.

    I have taken to the airport, and that is way cool, but for me… I have to go park at a less than desirable location and the hassle is less than driving to the airport.
    I have done the “alternative” fuel thing, so I don’t feel guilty about my Greehouse gas emmissions (that is a whole other argument BTW), but I would love to be able to have 30-45 minutes back in my life were I could chill, listen to ipod, or god forbid read.
    I am in no hurry to get home, but I doubt I would go see the Hawks.. especially if it would add 3 hours to my day just to take the train.

  11. d.ortiz (unregistered) on November 14th, 2007 @ 3:40 pm

    The grass is always greener. Yeah, Marta doesn’t have the coverage it should, but it’s cleaner than the subways in NY, DC, and Boston. It doesn’t smell like urine. It’s not full of crazy people. It has the next train in x minutes sign, even if it doesn’t work Sunday (worked the last Sunday I rode). And it’s cheap.

    Is it perfect? No. Is it better than nothing? Yes. Do you have to make adjustments in your life to use it? Well, yes. It’s not a car.

  12. Brian (unregistered) on November 14th, 2007 @ 6:49 pm


    There’s a good chance this is a black hole, but here’s a link to the Marta customer feedback form. Call me a misguided idealist, but there’s a chance someone actually read these things. This is a very fixable problem: run trains more frequently after sporting events. If they advertise this, they could even increase ridership. A win-win!

    You’ve complained about Marta’s service, so stop wasting time reading blogs and actually do something! It’ll take less than 2 minutes if you’re in a rush.

  13. Rashid Z. Muhammad (unregistered) on November 15th, 2007 @ 11:08 am

    Ok I submitted a comment, we’ll see how it plays out.

  14. Rashid Z. Muhammad (unregistered) on November 15th, 2007 @ 11:36 am

    Well, it’s not a black hole. Here was the reply to my comments about the inconsistent message board:

    Dear Mr. Muhammad,

    Thank you for taking your very valuable time to write and share your observations with us. Our Technology Department is well aware of the inconsistencies and is diligently working on a resolve. I am forwarding this information to them in hope that the added information will assist them in a more timely resolve. MARTA appreciates your input and the privilege to serve you.

    Kindest regards,

    Ms. Marion Keever

    Customer Care Representative

  15. james (unregistered) on November 15th, 2007 @ 11:40 am

    okay, i submitted one too. we’ll see what i get….

  16. james (unregistered) on November 15th, 2007 @ 11:56 am

    yup, rashid, someone is obviously reading them and reading them quick….here is mine –

    “Dear Mr. Hervey,

    This is something that is being reviewed. Most often there are extra
    trains but with the single tracking that goes on, it is sometimes
    counter productive. This came up this week and they are discussing
    options that would improve service and reduce waiting times.

    MARTA appreciates your input and the privilege to serve you.

    Kindest regards,

    Ms. Marion Keever
    Customer Care Representative”

    if nothing else, kudos to marta for quick and honest response….

  17. Rashid Z. Muhammad (unregistered) on November 15th, 2007 @ 2:46 pm

    Awesome, and since we’re in a complaining mood, who do I complain to at metroblogging about the whole 10+ comment thing which totally renders the purpose of showing comment counts null once more than ten people respond to a post?

  18. Rashid Z. Muhammad (unregistered) on November 15th, 2007 @ 2:54 pm

    Nevermind… found it.

  19. Reco (unregistered) on November 16th, 2007 @ 3:22 pm

    MARTA has been my MASTA (Metro Atlanta Slow Transit Authority) for too many years.

    I’m glad you guys wrote letters but I’ve been in sales for awhile now, and there’s an old psychological ploy that bad salesman (or salesman that can’t really do a damn thing) pull all the time. “I sympathize with what you’re saying and you’re absolutely right…blah blahh…we’re examining the process, we’ll get back to you, etc.

    Just ask for a refund due to poor service and see what they say!

  20. roxie (unregistered) on November 17th, 2007 @ 7:54 am

    BTI’s analysis is completely correct.

    When I was a GSU freshman in 01, the trains ran about every 3-5 minutes, it was fantastic. But b/c the surrouding counties don’t want to “open up their cities to criminals” (read: minorities) by having MARTA build out and b/c out gov treats it like a red-headed step child….you get ‘service’ like this.

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