Monday, May 03, 2010

Trials and Tribulations of Public Transportation

As luck would have it, it is raining cats and dogs this morning and, of course, it's Monday. I contemplated driving into work, however, I decided it best to ride public transportation as I normally do because I figure it would be safer than driving.

It's truly messy getting on the bus with an umbrella in the pouring rain, but not much more than getting into the SUV, I guess, so I headed to the bus stop at o'dark thirty this morning determined to make the best of it. The rain had let up a bit so getting on the bus was no problem. Once onboard, I settled into my seat, grabbed my Zune, and commenced to listening to some tunes. As usual, I was dozing in no time!

I awoke, as I normally do, when we turned off the Interstate weaving our way toward Forsyth Street which would take us to the Five Points MARTA station where I would get on the train heading North. Once we arrived in front of the station, I disembarked from the bus only to notice there were crowds and crowds of people out front as well as inside of the station. This seemed a bit unusual to me but I chaulked it up to the rain and it being a Monday. Silly me (if I had only known)! And well, I wasn't fully awake from my nap yet, however, that was about to change!

Much to my dismay, when I walked further down into the station on the way to the Northbound track, I was confronted with folks telling me something - one after the other. Of course, I was still listening to my music so didn't hear a word they were saying. I took my ear plugs out just in time to hear a few folks tell me that the Northbound train wasn't running. Once I arrived at that platform, a MARTA attendant told us that the Northbound train would be running from the Southbound track, that the electricity was out on the Northbound track. So, a group of us turned around and headed for the Southbound track. Once we arrived there, the MARTA attendant told us that the train had arrived on the wrong side of the track (the Northbound side where we just were standing) but that it couldn't go Northbound but would be heading to the airport. What to do?

Now I'm reading the AJC and they say there was a fire in the tunnel near the Midtown station which prompted the outage. This has happened before in that same tunnel. I ask you, how does a fire start in the tunnel of a train where there is no access to humans (well, unless you're on a train)? Are the rats catching on fire from standing on the electric track? If so, wouldn't they just burn quickly? What is in the tunnel that is catching fire? Perhaps they should install a sprinkler system within the tunnels or at the very least rid the area of debris on a weekly basis. But I digress . . .

Anyhoo, after the last misguided information about the train, the attendant then told us that there were MARTA shuttles outside on Forsyth Street that would take us to the Art Center station where we could take a Northbound train from there, circumventing the problem at the Midtown station. My own bus, the GA Xpress 477, goes to the Art Center station as well so I decided to go back out to wait on the next 477 to come along. I would catch that one and head North to Arts Center and catch the train from there. I headed back up to the top of the station. As I'm on the escalator almost to the top, I drop my Breeze card, flat on the escalator step that is rolling and rolling. The Breeze card is a plastic card the side of a credit card that holds fare for the bus and the train which at this time has about $70 worth of fare on it. I knelt down to grab it just in time before the top of the escalator sucked it, and my fingers and hand, underneath!! Whew, that was a close call - scared me to death!

After gathering my wits about me after that incident, I headed back outside. Unfortunately, I went to the Peachtree exit instead which meant I had to tap in and out twice to get to the Forsyth Street side where the buses were. It's $2 to come in or out without transferring to a bus. Oh well, I finally made to to the buses where I boarded a GA Xpress bus that was headed to the Arts Center. Not the 477 but another one who said he would go that way to help out. Once onboard, the MARTA attendent on the sidewalk announced that the trains were now running so I quickly disembarked from the bus and headed back into the train station to catch the train. Thank God, a MARTA attendant was there at the turnstiles letting folks back in without paying yet AGAIN.

I headed to the Northbound track where probably 5,000 people were headed as well. I was able to catch the next Doraville train heading North, arriving at the Doraville station at 7:13 a.m. Just in time to catch the 7:15 a.m. shuttle to the office off Clairmont Road. Our shuttle driver had the most aromatic cup of coffee that made me wanting that first cup ever so badly. After arriving at my building, I immediately headed to the snack bar to get that coffee which is just what the doctor ordered.

Safe and sound and dry again! All is well! Pin It

1 comment:

Chris said...

MARTA is not smarta, only cheaper. Only a company like them could charge more and reduce service.