What Would Ya Do-ooo-oo for a MARTA Card?
So….about the hiatus. I’m deep in mourning for the loss of another Atlanta institution. No need for explanation there. I discovered something today. A commuter calls me and asks me if there are any transportation options to get from Covington to Atlanta. The awkward realization that ran through my mind was…
1. Drive. The buses don’t go where you live, honey.
2. That’s a tad far, isn’t it?
In the commuter’s defense, I think it was an honest question due to our crazy commuting patterns in this region. While Covington may be a very far off exurb of Atlanta, it still is a sort of “commutable” area. After breaking the sad news that there wasn’t any other option than driving the lonely road to Dixieland, I gave her the closest alternatives (i.e. the two Xpress routes in Conyers). This brings up a very valid question. While I have always lived in Downtown Atlanta for my five plus years of being here, I have never really stopped and thought how the suburbanites and rural dwellers even find out where the nearest bus stop is or what time it even comes. With today’s technology, you could definitely douse that flame, but what if you’re 53 and haven’t a clue (which I think was this lady’s issue).
My philosophy in the transportation business is and will always be this: Information should be provided so that even Big Foot knows where he’s going. Not everyone will have access to a smartphone or a computer, so assuming that “the instructions are online at www…” is not a sound business practice. Even with language barriers, all demographics must be able to understand what and where you are giving service. GRTA has done a wonderful job with their Park and Ride Lots, which I take great pride in visiting when I’m out in the fields. MARTA also does their part in guiding drivers from the road to the stations, and Douglas County even went as far to create a Multimodal Center which is the center for all things transit in the West Metro (see pic above). However, we have a long way to go in providing information to everyone on demand. We should take these instances where we stop and say, “Where are we?” to think about how we can better relay information to newcomers and lost travelers. It makes everyone feel more comfortable in the long-run.