Michelle has a bonus hour of free time each day: she enjoys 25 minutes during her MARTA commute to and from work that she can use however she’d like. Perhaps she’s heard about a news story she’d like to learn more about; she’ll research it on the train. Maybe she’s looking for some deeper spiritual connection; she’ll bring her Sunday School book and do some reading. On the days Michelle just wants a moment to relax, that’s not a problem! She can use that time to take a nap and recharge.
“It can be freeing for me to have that alone time on the train,” she said.
This freedom is especially helpful since her days can be full; from taking care of her four children—who range from ages 9 to 21—to her accounting job at Boys & Girls Clubs of America, she has a lot of responsibilities and has to be “on” most of the time.
“Time is valuable and once it’s spent it’s gone forever,” said Michelle, who started riding MARTA two years ago. “I have gained so much time by not being in the everyday traffic hustle.”
The benefits of a MARTA commute
Each morning, she drives 8 miles from her home in the City of South Fulton to the College Park station. There, she parks and finds a seat on the MARTA train, watching the traffic out the window as her train whizzes by. The significant savings on wear and tear on her car and gas give her peace of mind as she sits back and enjoys the ride.
“It’s better than driving—I’m not pressed or strained,” said Michelle, who receives full reimbursement from her employer, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, for riding MARTA on her commute. Once she gets off the train at the Arts Center Station, it's just a short walk to her office.
“Try it out and see if you would like it,” said Michelle, who acknowledges that it can be hard to give up the sense of security of having your car available at all times. “Know that even though it takes a moment to adjust from the old routine, you made the right decision.”
And during the ride on MARTA, when she’s not reading or sleeping, Michelle will enjoy the simple things.
“I see someone give up their seat to someone. I see a small child excited to come on the train—maybe it’s their first time,” said Michelle. “I see the joy in other people.”
Do you commute on MARTA, too?
To ease anxiety about getting home in a pinch, many commuters use Georgia Commute Option’s Guaranteed Ride Home program. With Guaranteed Ride Home, registered commuters get five free rides home each year in case of an emergency. That way, if your kid is sick or you’re kept at work late and miss your regular ride, you don’t need to stress.
Do you want to share the joys of your clean commute? Whether you walk, ride the bus, bike, take the train, carpool, or telework, we want to hear about it! Tell us about it.