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A dummy’s guide to jitney buses

August 11, 2010

I take my job as prima blogarina very seriously, so when writing a word to know about jitneys, I had to follow-up with a ride on a jitney. How could I, in good conscience, pretend to be an expert and not hop my happy butt on a bus for y’all?

To begin my adventure, I googled the name of several of the buses I’ve seen running up and down Buford. I thought being prepared was crucial. Apparently, they don’t agree. None of the Buford Highway jitney buses have websites, so riding is a crap shoot.

What you need to know:
Fare is $1.50, which is 50₵ cheaper than MARTA. They only take cash, and you can pay when you get on or off, but they can’t give you a transfer pass for MARTA.

They supposedly run every 10 to 12 minutes, but I never waited for longer than 5. Many of the drivers are owners, so like taxis, they’re working for their own pay, so they are out there in droves during the day.

The hours of service are 4:30 AM to 8:00 PM so this isn’t going to be your late night ride home.

They will pick up at any MARTA stop on Buford, and generally will even try to pick you up if you’re not at a stop. They will drop you off anywhere along the highway.

They’re supposed to be bilingual, but every driver I encountered only spoke Spanish. If you stand up and go to the front, the driver will stop.

The buses are hot and not necessarily air conditioned, one out of the three I rode today was, so bring a drink with you! They don’t seem to mind.

I set off for my jitney ride after stopping off for a Powerade. I hopped on somewhere around Buford and Chamblee-Tucker, going south. We didn’t get too far before the driver made us get off and switch buses on the side of the road. I’m not sure why, but the second bus had air conditioning, so I was pretty happy.

I rode for a good ways, past Aldi and to where I could see the city skyline before I was bored and hopped off. I made a run for it across Buford, and then went over to the MARTA bus shelter to wait for my next ride.

Here are a few interior shots of the orange Georgia Bus Lines jitneys.

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Notice the busted up door, secured with duck tape.

Here are a few other videos from the adventure:

MARTA & the jitney compete for patrons.

Jitneys chasing one another.

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Run away jitney!

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