We’ve talked about how to use MARTA to get around Atlanta. Trust us, you don’t want to drive during the chaos of Super Bowl weekend! Lots of roads will be closed downtown and traffic is sure to be a nightmare. However, Atlanta’s massive public transportation system, MARTA, will provide you with a simple way to travel around downtown, through the city, and even out into the suburbs. Especially if you’re staying several miles out, MARTA will make staying outside of town so much easier!
Like many cities that host the Super Bowl, Atlanta is making some changes to its regularly scheduled public transportation. To ease the congestion of the city, keep people moving, and ensure the safety of guests and locals, MARTA has announced its service plans and changes for the Super Bowl.
Extended Rail and Bus Hours
During the 10-day period surrounding the Super Bowl, MARTA will have extended hours for its rail, bus, and streetcar system to deal with the spike in passenger numbers. Normally, MARTA’s trains run long hours, but for the Super Bowl, they’re extending them even earlier and later in the day. And for Super Bowl weekend, many routes will be running 24 hours per day.
Here are the MARTA schedule changes for Super Bowl 53:
- January 29th – February 1st: Rail service will operate from 4 AM to 1 AM.
- From February 1st at 4 AM through February 5th at 2 AM, rail service will run 24 hours a day.
- January 29th – February 1st: Buses will operate from 5 AM to 1 AM.
- From February 1st at 4 AM through February 5th at 2 AM, bus routes 15, 39, 83, and 196 will run 24 hours a day.
- The Atlanta Streetcar will operate on its regular schedule, but there will be an additional vehicle on February 3rd, Super Bowl Sunday, with a car approximately every 9 minutes.
See MARTA’s official Super Bowl schedule changes here.
As you know, the NFL will be hosting a lot of Super Bowl events, festivities, concerts, and activities like Super Bowl LIVE, Music Fest, and more in the days leading up to the big game. According to MARTA, “If it’s Super Bowl related, we can get you there!” If you need help using public transport to get to any of these official Super Bowl events, MARTA has created this handy Super Bowl Events page with the correct lines and stations to get you there seamlessly, along with links to maps and schedules.
Of course, there’s also an app for that. It’s called MARTA On the Go.
Fares and Breeze Cards
The fare for MARTA is $2.50 for a one-way trip. You’ll need to purchase a reloadable Breeze Card to access MARTA buses, trains, and streetcars – just load it up with a balance beforehand. If you’re planning to use MARTA throughout your time in Atlanta, you might also consider loading it with one of their day pass options. You can buy a Breeze Card online or at any of the MARTA stations from a Breeze Vending Machine.
If you have any questions about how all this works, the website MARTA Guide created a great source called Breeze Cards 101. If you want to learn the basics of using MARTA before you arrive in Atlanta, you may also want to check out How to Ride MARTA Buses and How to Ride MARTA Trains. They even have videos!
Another fun thing? MARTA will be issuing a special commemorative Breeze Card for Super Bowl LIII. The card costs $2.00 in addition to the cost of your fare. Pre-sales have already started and you can purchase yours here.
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Is MARTA Prepared for the Super Bowl Crowds?
Together with the Atlanta Police Department, Fire Department, Public Works, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, MARTA has been prepping for over a year to get ready for the biggest sporting event in the nation. According to MARTA CEO Jeffrey Parker, “MARTA has its regular riders who depend on us, we have employees, event staff, and volunteers who will need transportation during all hours of the day and night, and we have the estimated million people who will be in town to enjoy the festivities. We are committed to providing safe, reliable, and convenient service to all of our valued riders.”
While we’ve talked about how the city of Atlanta is getting ready for Super Bowl weekend, how prepared is their public transportation system really? Because there’s been talk from MARTA employees who say they’re not sure that the system will be able to handle the crowds the Super Bowl brings to town. Some claim they don’t even have enough staff to handle their regular routes and workloads of everyday Atlanta transit, let alone the million extra people who will descend upon the city for the Super Bowl.
Complaints about MARTA abound. Trains are often late. Routes are canceled daily because they’re short-staffed. Last January during the College Football Championship, some passengers waited for hours for trains. What does that mean for an event twice that size?
Still, Parker ensures everyone they’ll be ready. MARTA has put in great efforts to prepare for the Super Bowl, particularly in terms of staffing. They’ve hosted job fairs, trained 60 new bus drivers, offered $1,000 referral bonuses to their current staff, and budgeted $2 million just for this event.
Parker said, “We have been employing some really large efforts, some would say extraordinary efforts, to attract people to MARTA. When it comes to the Super Bowl and having enough staff, there are several things that we are doing and this will be a key to our success.”