Now that 2012 has come to a close, Atlanta looks forward to 2013 with a new MARTA CEO (Keith Parker), who plans to be a regular rider on the system. While students and those commuting to work tend to make up a large portion of ridership, events and recreational activities also draw in crowds. So where are people on MARTA going? Based on web traffic data on MARTAGuide.com, here are the most visited destinations on MARTA in 2012.
5. Philips Arena
Philips Arena is located right next to the Dome station on the blue/green rail line, making it an easy commute to see concerts, sporting events (Go Hawks) and more. Mark your 2013 calenders for Justin Bieber (Jan. 23), Wrestlemania 29 (Feb. 4), Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey (Feb. 13-18), Bon Jovi (Feb. 27), Pink (March 1), Lady Gaga (March 11), Harlem Globetrotters (March 16), Maroon 5 (March 27), Taylor Swift (April 18-19), Rihanna (April 22), Rod Stewart (April 28) and Fleetwood Mac (June 10).
Megabus has been serving Atlanta at the Civic Center station since November 2011. The bus picks up and drops off passengers above the station in the northbound lane of West Peachtree Street. As of the start of 2013, the buses provide service to the following cities: Athens (Ga.), Birmingham (Al.), Buffalo, Champaign (Il.), Charlotte, Chattanooga, Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus (Oh.), Dallas/Fort Worth, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Knoxville, Little Rock, Memphis, Mobile, Montgomery (Al.), Nashville, New Orleans and Orlando.
3. Turner Field
Turner Field is a hot destination for MARTA riders during the warmer months. The Braves shuttle is free if you are transferring from the train. Purchase a roundtrip fare in advance to avoid waiting in line to purchase your fare. Several road races also start and end outside Turner Field, including the Atlanta Half-marathon and the Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk.
2. Doraville MARTA Station
Out of all the MARTA stations, the Doraville station is most searched for online. It is the last station on the gold rail line, located near I-285 and Buford Highway (the closest station to Norcross and Gwinnett). There is free daily parking and long-term parking for $8/day. You'll find the Doraville City Hall and public library next door, and the Comfort Inn and Conference Center Northeast is nearby.
1. Atlantic Station
While it might seem surprising, Atlantic Station came in first as the most popular MARTA destination of 2012. In addition to having a shopping district, the area also hosts numerous festivals and events throughout the year. Highlights include the Winter Beer Carnival, Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival, Feria Latina, outdoor summer movies and holiday events. A free shuttle to Atlantic Station is available at the Arts Center MARTA station.
As for the busiest MARTA destination on a single day? The Dogwood Festival. Check out this launch of the Atlanta festival season April 19-21, 2013 and ride MARTA to the Midtown or Arts Center station.