BY CHRISTI NAKAJIMA
For James Kirkendoll, riding MARTA to work is nothing new. But when he found out that his new job with Midtown Blue offers a $50 monthly transit subsidy, he was taken aback.
“I was like, wow, this is a dream job,” Kirkendoll said.
James started in his new role at Midtown Alliance as a public safety officer in late-2020. On a typical shift, he patrols different parts of Midtown to prevent crimes, help homeless individuals find support and carry out other essential duties. To get to his job, James takes the bus to Five Points MARTA station and then uses the free transfer to take the train to Midtown station. From there, it’s a short walk to work.
The transit subsidy offered by Midtown Alliance allows James to buy his MARTA pass with pre-tax dollars, and with a 20% discount. He pays only $26 per month for unlimited trips on MARTA, instead of the full monthly price of $96. He has never received a benefit like this at previous jobs, but finds it incredibly helpful.
“It’s a huge draw to working for Midtown Blue,” Kirkendoll said.
Midtown Employers Support Their Transit Commuters
More and more Midtown companies are offering transit subsidies, and more than 100 are taking advantage of discounted transit passes through Midtown’s Transit Pass Program. The program’s benefits include a less stressful and more predictable commute and reduced carbon emissions. Although historically employers have focused on subsidized parking, offering a transit benefit allows them to attract and support a wider range of applicants when looking to hire, including those who rely on or prefer transit.
To learn more about offering transit subsidies or discounted monthly transit passes to your employees, visit our webpage. If you work for a Midtown employer not currently offering transit benefits, see if your company is interested in working with Midtown Transportation to learn more about commuter benefits and programs.
Commuting During COVID
Once James gets on the bus, he plugs in his earbuds, starts his music and checks his email. With the decrease in ridership resulting from COVID-19, James feels that it’s easy for him to socially distance. He also sees the vast majority of riders wearing masks – a requirement in all MARTA stations, buses, and trains. MARTA itself has reported a mask compliance rate of 97%.
Tips for New Riders
When asked about tips for new MARTA commuters, James gave some thoughtful advice:
do a dry run to see how long it’ll take you to get to/from work
don’t be afraid to ask others for help if you’re unsure of where to go or how to pay the fare,
and download the MARTA app to get real-time train and bus arrival information.
As a safety professional, he also advocates for people to be aware of their surroundings, both on and off the train.
Do you bike, walk, carpool, or take transit to work in Midtown? If you’re interested in being featured in our Commuter Spotlight, let us know here!