Xpress Yourself: All About Riding a Commuter Bus in Atlanta
All you need to know to ride a GCT, CobbLinc, or GRTA Xpress bus into Midtown.
Do you live outside of the perimeter but long for the convenience of transit? There’s a common misconception that OTP-ers can’t ride transit to work, since MARTA doesn't serve the outer 'burbs. But have no fear, disgruntled drivers: there's hope for your commute yet!
Whether you live north, east, south or west of the city, there are commuter buses that service the Metro Atlanta area, with 33,000 free parking spaces at 19 park and ride lots across the region providing links to transit that connects to Midtown. In fact, 545,000 regional commuters can access a park and ride lot within 10 minute from their home. So, why not leave your car behind before catching the bus for a smooth ride into Midtown?
There are three different transit providers that offer commuter buses into Atlanta. These are coach buses, equipped with comfortable seats, free wifi and other amenities.
Unlike driving your car, riding the commuter bus allows you to sit back and relax during your commute—you can use the time to read a book, send some emails, or catch up on your zzzs. When you're riding the bus, traffic isn't your problem anymore. Ride in peace and use your newfound time however your please.
Curious about how the different transit providers stack up on some of the most important features to commuters?
Boarding the bus
Tap your Breeze card at the entrance or swipe your transit ticket. A Breeze card can be loaded with fare for any of these transit providers as well as MARTA.
Otherwise, pay the driver exact change.
Paying for your ride
On all three types of buses, you should have exact change if you’re going to pay in cash on the bus. That means $5 on GCT, $5 on CobbLinc, $3 on GRTA Xpress Green Zone. GRTA Xpress Green Zone includes Midtown routes 421, 423, 431, 441 461, 462, 490—if you board at Woodstock park and ride—and 491.
The bus ride costs $4 on GRTA Xpress Blue Zone, which includes Midtown routes 411, 430, 450, 451 and 490—if you board at Canton park and ride.
Otherwise, if you’re going to be taking the bus regularly, it is a good idea to purchase a certain number of rides to load onto your Breeze card to make it easy to board the bus. GCT, CobbLinc, and GRTA Xpress passes or trips can all be loaded onto a Breeze card, in addition to MARTA passes. Midtown Transportation works with employers in Midtown to offer GCT, CobbLinc, and GRTA Xpress passes through pre-tax payroll deduction.
Getting off the bus
To make sure the bus driver knows to let you off at your stop, be sure to pull the cord at the window seat or press the button above your seat (depending on the bus) before your stop.
The GCT buses do not have outlets for riders.
The CobbLinc buses have a few outlets but not for every individual rider.
The GRTA Xpress buses have working outlets at every seat.
GCT, CobbLinc, and GRTA Xpress all offer free wifi.
Parking is free at the GCT, CobbLinc, and GRTA Xpress park and ride lots. Most of the lots prohibit overnight parking though, and you are responsible for your own vehicle.
The bus stops at the park and rides are all labeled and marked with signs, according to representatives from the transit providers. Many include protection from the rain.
All of the buses have racks so that you can store your bike on the bus during your ride.
All rides on GCT, CobbLinc, and GRTA Xpress have free transfers to MARTA rail and bus at connecting MARTA stations (with the use of a Breeze card).
If you transfer to a GCT bus from MARTA, simply tap your Breeze card for a free transfer. If you transfer to a CobbLinc bus from MARTA, the system will charge you an additional $2.50 when you get onto the bus. If you transfer to a GRTA Xpress bus from MARTA, simply tap your Breeze card for a free transfer. (Check out our transfer guide here or check out another helpful guide here.)
For the Xpress buses, use the myXpress app to look up your route’s schedule and track your bus in real-time.
Make It Count
When you log your commutes through Georgia Commute Options, you can win money for your bus commute. If you switch from driving alone, you can earn $5/day up to $150. If you have been riding for a while, you will be entered into a raffle to win $25 prizes monthly for your continued use of the bus.
Tips from riders:
Cyndi Flanagan, who rides the GCT bus, recommends talking to other riders if you have any questions about where to go and what to do.
Carolyn Boze, who rides the CobbLinc bus, uses Georgia Commute Options’ Guaranteed Ride Home program to get a cab if she has to work late and misses her bus.
Nina Climes, who rides the Xpress bus, recommends trying out the bus by buying a pass first (not a full Breeze card), and deciding whether you like it.
Watch commuter Bernie try out the bus commute below: