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A Guide to Riding Marta Trains in Atlanta


A Guide to Riding Marta Trains in Atlanta

Ticket kiosks at the Marta station

Photo © Laura Folio
Riding on the Marta rail system can be intimidating if you are new to Atlanta, visiting town or just riding for your first time. As long as you know what to expect, getting around on Marta is easy and can save you from sitting in Atlanta traffic.

Planning Your Trip:

Marta has five "branches" on two lines in the metro area. Confused already? Think of Marta as a big plus sign where the two arms meet at Five Points station in the heart of downtown. The branches are Northeast (Doraville), Northwest (North Springs), South, East and West. The only time you need to pay close attention to which train you're boarding is if you're heading north of Lindbergh Center Station, where the line splits in to Northeast (Doraville) and Northwest (North Springs). If you make a mistake, just get off at Lindbergh and wait for the appropriate train.

Take a look at a map of Marta and plan your trip before you go. There is an easy-to-use trip planner on the Marta website.

Keep in mind that Marta trains do not run 24-hours. Trains run from 5 a.m. - 1 a.m. on weekdays and until 12:30 a.m. on weekends and holidays. Trains will run every 20 minutes, except during peak hours when they run every 10 minutes. Peak hours are commuter hours, 6 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Monday - Friday.

Parking at Marta Stations:

Some Marta stations offer parking lots, either paid or free, where you can leave your car. Some locations are covered decks while others are open lots. All stations with parking offer free parking for the first 24 hours.

Paying Your Fare:

The Marta fare is $1.75 each way.

Before you pass through the Marta gates, you'll need to purchase a Breeze Card. All stations have ticket vending kiosks. Some stations also have a Marta Ride Store where you can purchase tickets at the counter. You can choose to buy a temporary paper card (.50 cent fee applies) or pay $5 for a durable plastic card. Both cards are re-loadable (for no fee), but your paper card will expire after 90 days.

If you are planning to ride Marta as a permanent commute alternative, you will want to purchase a plastic card for daily use. In addition to single rides, you can buy in blocks of 10 (ride store only) or 20. You can also buy passes for unlimited rides within a designated time period (7 days, 30 days or a multi-day visitor pass).

To board Marta, simply tap your card against the Breeze Card symbol on the entrance gates.

Marta Safety:

During normal, daytime hours, riding Marta is generally safe. All stations have uniformed safety officers as well as blue emergency phones to connect you directly to the police. Each car contains a red emergency button to call the train operator as needed.

In the mornings and afternoons, Marta is very crowded with commuters and most individuals would not feel threatened in any way. However, if you are riding Marta alone or late and night, you will want to take the same precautions you would if you were walking alone on the street -

be aware of your surroundings, keep moving and try to purchase your ticket ahead of time so that you are not spending long periods of time with your wallet exposed at the vending kiosk. If you are at all uncomfortable, it may be a good idea to sit in the front car, where you are close to the train operator.

Marta Etiquette:

There are a few rules, spoken and unspoken, to riding Marta. Official system rules are as follows:

On Marta it is illegal to: eat, drink, smoke, litter, vandalize, write graffiti, panhandle, solicit, play sound devices without earphones (set volume to low), bring animals on board (except service animals or small pets confined to rigid pet carriers with locks or latches), carry weapons (except firearms when carrying a valid permit) or assault MARTA employees. Seats immediately inside the doors are reserved for disabled or elderly passengers.

You may also want to keep in mind the following:

  • During rush hour, people tend to be in a hurry and it is courteous to stand to one side if riding the escalator so that people can pass by.
  • If the train is crowded, occupy only one seat. Do not use additional seats for your bags or other personal items.
  • If the train is crowded, move toward the center of the train or out of the way of the door so that others may enter the train.
  • If someone is seated in your row, be mindful of when they may be trying to pass by and exit the train.

Some Popular Destinations on Marta

(Destination - Station, line)
  • Airport - Airport Station, South
  • Atlanta Civic Center - Civic Center, North
  • Atlantic Station - Arts Center, North (requires free shuttle)
  • Buckhead Neighborhood - Buckhead, Northwest
  • Centennial Olympic Park - Peachtree Center, North or GWCC/Philips/CNN, West
  • Downtown Decatur - Decatur, East
  • Fox Theatre - North Ave, North
  • Georgia State University - Georgia State, East
  • Georgia World Congress Center/Philips Arena/CNN Center - GWCC/Philips/CNN, West
  • High Museum of Art/Alliance Theater/Orchestra - Arts Center, North
  • Lenox Square Mall - Lenox, Northeast (Doraville)
  • Little Five Points - Inman Park/Reynoldstown, East
  • Perimeter Mall - Dunwoody, Northwest (North Springs)
  • Phipps Plaza - Lenox, Northeast (Doraville)
  • Piedmont Park - Midtown or Arts Center, North (requires short walk)
  • State Capitol - Georgia State, East
  • Turner Field - Five Points, North/South/East/West Hub (shuttle on game days)
  • Underground Atlanta - Five Points, North/South/East/West Hub
  • The Varsity - North Ave, North
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