Why Should MARTA Stop at Buses and Trains?
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By Joshua M. Rosenbaum
It’s obvious many people in Atlanta don’t ride MARTA trains more often because there simply aren’t enough stations around. Getting to and from one usually means another substantial distance to travel, and that can just become too inconvenient to many people who otherwise wouldn’t mind commuting by train.
Bicycles are a great way to fill the gap between train stations and home or work. However, the logistics of using one’s own bike can sometimes be complicated. What if your commute to the train station was too long to make on a bike, even though your trip from the station to work was short (or vice versa)? What if you weren’t comfortable carrying your bike onto the train? I know from my own experience that these considerations can keep people from commuting by MARTA train.
So, here’s an idea: Add a bike share program as part of the MARTA mix. If stations were equipped with lots of simple, inexpensive bikes (with racks!) that were available to paying customers, then more people could potentially extend their trip all the way to work or to/from home. As well, encourage a partnership with bicycle-rickshaw services that could act as pedal powered taxis like we see in cities like Austin. We may not have many of these types of cycle taxi businesses here in Atlanta currently, but I bet if the incentive and opportunity were there something would come about to fill the need.
Atlanta is doing a great job expanding and encouraging a bicycle friendly culture. Why not get in on the act and have MARTA become a leading example of the practical benefits and possibilities bikes can offer in a progressive city like Atlanta. Why stop at buses and trains? Bikes could become an important part of the MARTA mix.