MARTA advice: Is this route out of downtown Atlanta practical?
May 12, 2013 8:18 PM   Subscribe

Tuesday morning I need to get from a hotel near the Peachtree Center MARTA stop to the ChocoLate coffee shop in the Shallowford Plaza shopping center. Can I do this on public transit without getting sweaty or stressed out?

Google Maps is advising I could get there this way (if I understand the directions):

9:03 AM Take Gold Line from Peachtree Center Station, northbound toward Doraville Station
9:16 AM Arrive at Lenox Station
9:22 AM Transfer to 33 Bus towards Chamblee Station
9:49 AM Arrive at stop on Shallowford Road NE at Bradford Square NE, walk apx 1 block to shopping center

And then presumably make the return trip the same way; I haven't done that search.

Is this likely to be clean, safe, and on time? If yes, can I put bus fare on my MARTA pass or should I carry cash for the bus?
posted by lakeroon to Travel & Transportation around Atlanta, GA (8 answers total)
MARTA schedules are notoriously casual, the buses especially so. I'd double the amount of time you actually need, if this is something you must be on time for.

Also, use Google Street View to figure out if there's an actual sidewalk along your walk in Chamblee, and guide your shoe selection appropriately. In the center of town near your hotel, the streets all have sidewalks, but many if not most other neighborhoods not in the city limits do not - you might have to walk in the dirt on the side of the road.

Finally - yes, your MARTA card can be used on the buses as well as the train.
posted by deadmessenger at 8:26 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would recommend taking the train up to Chamblee Station, then just getting a cab or something rather than waiting for the bus.
posted by tau_ceti at 8:57 PM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

I agree with tau_ceti. I think the cab would be $10 or less. I am not familiar with the bus routes but the Chamblee station is much closer to that location on Shallowford - seems like there should be a bus from the Chamblee station to Shallowford Rd. Maybe take the bus back to the Marta station if the return trip is not crucial. I would not be especially concerned about safety but I would not count on anything being on time.
posted by LiverOdor at 10:05 PM on May 12, 2013

Safety will be no problem, if you mean, am I going through any tough/dangerous neighborhoods on this trip? The on foot part is just older suburbia.

The Chamblee station does seem to be closer, and the bus route from Lenox also meanders through various suburban areas on its way. The 33 bus seems to go to both this and the Lenox stations. The Shallowford Plaza shopping center is just south of I-85, by the way. Your stop, coming from the Chamblee station, is going to be just after the bus leaves the "I-85 Access Road", which is a sort of limited access road that runs along I-85 in that part of town, and re-enters the normal streets.
posted by thelonius at 12:50 AM on May 13, 2013

The above advice all seems good. In general, the trains are more or less on time and the buses pretty much never are.

You should definitely research the return trip before you leave as well--some buses make big weird circles and such, so you shouldn't assume that your return trip would be exactly the same as your outbound trip.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:21 AM on May 13, 2013

Just to add and answer one of your questions, you MARTA pass works on the bus. In fact there are no transfer fees -- you use up one trip to get to your destination regardless of how many times you transfer and what you transfer to (there are limits but they are generous). If you have a pass based on a certain number of days then you don't have to worry about it at all -- use your pass on all trips on bus and train.

While bus schedules are somewhat casual they are not as bad as implied here. Buses generally leave stations on time and surprisingly arrive on time. What happens in the middle is more flexible. If a driver is making too good of time they will often stop somewhere and take a rest. The upshot is that buses are rarely early but often on time or a little late. Sometimes, of course, very late (it is Atlanta traffic and all).

Your route looks safe and clean so that shouldn't be a problem. You might feel more comfortable staying on the train (though I think long-time MARTA patrons tend to prefer buses for a variety of reasons) so catching the 33 bus from Chamblee makes sense. It looks like the bus runs every 45 minutes so you'll want to be aware of that when planning your trip.

All-in-all this looks like a pretty easy and standard kind of adventure so the standard advice holds, don't panic.
posted by bfootdav at 6:12 AM on May 13, 2013

MARTA is fine, you can ride it anytime and you're going to be safe. Get to the bus stop early, just be be sure.

The Lenox Station is right by the mall, and it's upscale, so that should be fine.

Shallowford Rd is sort of funky, a bit run down, but it's fine.

This isn't Italy, nothing runs on time.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:27 AM on May 13, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks all! I am feeling more comfortable about this now.
posted by lakeroon at 7:34 AM on May 13, 2013

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