Atlanta transportation guide: rideshares, MARTA and more

Photo by Dayne Francis | The Signal

Atlanta has rideshares, the Atlanta Streetcar, Zipcar and MARTA for students to be able to travel around the city.

Walkability is one of the many characteristics that make living downtown convenient and efficient. But Atlanta does still offer various transportation alternatives, public and private, for those looking to travel outside the realm of walkability. These transportation options include rideshares, the Atlanta Streetcar, Zipcar, and MARTA.

Rideshares

Rideshares, like Uber and Lyft, are companies that provide a shared driving service for a cheaper cost – and we all know, “cheaper cost” is any university student’s favorite phrase. Rideshare services have rapidly gained popularity in the past couple of years giving most students a safe, non-costly, and easy way to get home when things get a little..out of hand. Here’s how it works: The person in need of a ride will request a car from their smartphone app, and the app will match them with a driver nearby. Here’s why it’s our fave: the apps let you know of the driver’s previous ratings, and customer comments, name, appearance, and what kind of car they drive. The best part: wait time is usually no longer than 2-3 minutes; there’s an Uber everywhere!

UberX, the low-cost Uber service that seats four people, has a base fare of $1.00, charges $0.12 per minute, and $0.75 per mile. The service fee for the ride is $1.75. Customers can choose an Uber Pool option, which includes picking up other passengers to share a ride with, and lowers the total cost of the trip.

Lyft is another popular rideshare option. The standard Lyft cost for an Atlanta passenger starts at $0.90, with a cost of $0.12 per minute and $0.78 per mile. The service fee for a standard Lyft ride is also $1.75.

Photo by Dayne Francis | The Signal
Photo by Dayne Francis | The Signal

Atlanta Streetcar

Take a quiet, slow ride around the city, with this fun option. The Atlanta Streetcar opened in December of 2014 and travels 2.7 miles downtown providing 12 stops. Some of these stops include campus parks like Hurt Park and Woodruff Park, downtown hotspots like Centennial Olympic Park, and historic districts of the city like Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.  

One-way trips cost $1.00 while a one-day pass costs $3.00. You can purchase your tickets with a credit or debit card, a MARTA breeze card, and even with cash at limited stops.

The Streetcar is open from 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM Monday through Thursday. On Friday, the Streetcar closes at 1:00 AM. On Saturday the service time ranges from 8:30 AM to 1:00 AM, and from 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM on Sunday. The Streetcar runs every 10 to 15 minutes, but that time can be altered depending on ridership demand and traffic.

Zipcar

Zipcar is another option for those looking to navigate Atlanta. This company allows people to rent cars for a limited amount of hours or days. The cost is dependent on your plan and the car you choose, but standard rates start at $8.50 an hour and $79 a day.

Zipcar renters must be at least 21 years old, but with proof of university affiliation, students 18+ can rent a Zipcar, either online or through the company’s app. A Zipcar card purchase is required, which is discounted for Georgia State students, at a final cost of $15. Once approved, a member has thousands of car options to choose from and plenty of pick-up locations around town.

MARTA

MARTA stands for Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority and is largest public transit operator in Atlanta. MARTA consists of a network of 91 bus routes and a rapid transit system with 48 miles of rail track and 38 rail stations.

For a one-way trip, MARTA fare is $2.50. Breeze Cards, which are reloadable cards that can be purchased at MARTA station kiosks, cost $2.00 and are valid for three years.

Popular places that can be accessed by students using MARTA include Atlantic Station, Lenox Square Mall, Little 5 Points, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, and more. MARTA also offers monthly Breeze passes, which come at a discount to Georgia State Students. This is part of MARTA’s University Pass Program (UPASS), and monthly passes are accessible to students for the price of $68.50. Contact Georgia State’s Auxiliary and Support Services if you are interested in a MARTA UPASS.

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