Metra vs. Marta – Marta’s Ridership Is Up 14%; Metra’s Up 7%

  Atlanta’s Marta transit system offers more convenience than Columbus’ Metra. But, it also costs more to use. Let’s look at the comparison.


   Columbus buses run every hour. Marta buses have varying frequencies, some as long as a 30 minutes, depending on demand.  However, Atlanta’s trains run every 5 minutes on trunk lines and 10 minutes on branch lines during the rush hours. Atlanta wins that one hands down.


  An adult one-way fare on Marta is $1.75. On Metra, it’s $1.25.  Metra does charge $1.90 to Fort Benning.


  Senior citizens and disabled in Columbus pay $0.65 one way. In Atlanta it’s $0.85.


  Marta offers K-12 students ten trips for $10.50. Columbus students can get a monthly pass for $20.00.  So, if Metra student riders who use the monthly pass get a much better deal because that comes to about $5.00 a week.  


  Marta offers university students a $40 unlimited ridership for a month. Metra doesn’t specify whether the 31 Day Trip Card is for university students as well as K-12.


  As far as ridership is concerned, Metra averages almost a million boardings a year, while Marta averages about 140 million.


  . Columbus has 40 busses covering 9 routes. Marta has 544 buses covering 120 routes and 238 rail cars. Those 238 rail cars have more boardings than Marta’s 544 busses.


Marta serves a population of almost 2 million people. Columbus serves a base of almost 300 thousand.


  Marta’s overall ridership is up 14 percent over this time last year. Metra’s is up 7 percent so far over last year.


  What good are those comparisons? I don’t know. I guess they just tell us that it’s cheaper to ride Metra, but Marta’s service is more convenient. Some will say, well, it costs more to live, but pay is higher in the Atlanta area.  It appears pay is definitely higher, and maybe the costs are higher for shelter because real estate is higher, and so are property taxes, but I doubt if there is much difference in food and clothing. One thing is for sure, though, life is a lot less hectic in Columbus than in Atlanta.














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2 Responses to “Metra vs. Marta – Marta’s Ridership Is Up 14%; Metra’s Up 7%”

  1. my comment Says:

    Good series on public transportation, I honestly wish we had a better system…What about all the people in Harris County or Smiths Station? If we had a subway or highspeed rail from Harris County & Smiths to Downtown would the parking lot at TSYS be void of the several hundred cars that are parked there each day?

  2. dicksworld Says:


    If energy costs don’t come down mass transit will have to grow.

    As far as rail is concerned, it’s time to think about it again. Subways are very expensive to build but surface rails could probably be run ito the suburbs just as cheaply as highways.

    It’s time to start planning for it and stop thinking just in terms of expanding highways for more cars. What we need are fewer cars, with more people car pooling and using public transportation. Mass transit is far more effecient as far as fuel is concerned and more environmentally friendly.

    If public transit becomes convienent with greater frequency and more people of all classes ride it as they do in places like London, Paris, Washington, New York, Moscow and other great cities, it will lose the stigma that it has as transportation for the poor.

    A lot of parking lots would have fewer cars if public transit were to really catch on. It will, by necessity, in the future.

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