In Atlanta, and across the globe, public transit is a mobile microcosm of both society's compassion and depravity. MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) is no different. On any given day, riding it is akin to being on a tumultuous reality show that’s equal parts American Idol, Cheaters, and the Real World. Most Atlantans love to hate MARTA, and for good reason: its scope is limited, it’s underfunded, it frequently breaks down, and its layout and design -- especially compared to other cities -- make about as much sense as the bewildering design of Atlanta itself.
BUT there are noted benefits of traveling by MARTA... most importantly, it gets you out of the city’s unquestionably hellish traffic. Despite frequent delays and maintenance issues -- on average -- the commute time is comparable to driving. That means the hour you’d spend behind the wheel screaming wild expletives at other drivers is freed up and can be spent reading, writing, listening to a podcast, whatever you want. Generally speaking, it’s also cheaper, as the rail and/or bus absorb the cost of gas, regular vehicle maintenance, and insurance associated with owning a car.