Tales From Twitter: MARTA Moments

Since moving to Atlanta a little over six years ago, I have been a rider of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority’s trains and buses. Since joining Twitter a little over four years ago, I have been making occasional observations about MARTA.

I recently downloaded my tweet archive, and it occurred to me I could sort out my MARTA tweets and present them as a little slice of my history on the system.

Some observations: Many of my tweets are complaints. I try, however, to remark upon most of the odd, unusual, and beautiful things I observe in my rides.

Also, I apparently like the smell of cookies. A lot. 


Wow, does the heat work on this train. Twenty minutes, and my leg beside the vent is nicely toasted. #marta

A fellow train rider (a security guard by appearance) is drawing what appears to be a magazine cover for “Creepy Tales.” #marta 


Call from my boss — safety first; another snow day tomorrow. (I can’t argue otherwise; our road is iced and the buses aren’t running.)

If the buses were running, I’d have to walk over ice to get to one. As you may have heard, I don’t do well walking over ice.

No snow day tomorrow. Officially. Practically speaking, it depends on the status of the roads (and buses) in our neighborhood. #dubious

No bus, no work. The sun is out, though. Maybe we’ll have enough melting to get free before the day’s out.


Working. From the office, no less. The buses still won’t come near us, but our street melted enough yesterday that I was able to drive out.


Wow. It is like July inside this bus. I get it. It’s cold outside. That does not mean set the thermostat to hellfire. #marta


Home to kendo, by car: ~30 mins. Home to kendo, by bus: ~2 hrs. #samuraicommute #nodirectroute #argh

Waiting on my connecting bus, I just watched guy at the stop across the street puke. Three times. Glad he’s headed west, not east. #ew #whew

Still waiting on bus, which is 20 mins. late. Meanwhile, puking man wandered off, and smoking chick arrived on my side of the street. #whee

I stood up, triggering an apology from smoking chick, who left after finishing. Apparently she just wanted a smoke break, not a bus. #rude

No, I really don’t have anything better to do right now than tweet my Saturday night bus (mis)adventure. #bored #alsohungry #mostlybored

Finally a bus appeared, a mere 40 mins. behind schedule. Or 10 mins., if I assume the first one was simply a no-show. #lessbored #morehungry

Home. Showered. And wife made cake. #allswellthatendswell


Dear singer in Five Points Station: You are not as good as you think you are. Also, “Bohemian Rhapsody” has more than one verse. #ouch


I periodically see soldiers on MARTA, typically low-ranking enlisted and occasionally company-grade officers. Today, a first: a major.


10 p.m. bus left on time, as five of us were exiting the fare gates and headed toward it. 10:30 p.m. bus? Still here, no rush. #expletive

I appreciate transit … but somehow I always seem to have bus issues while tired/hungry. Tired/hungry + time to kill = grumpy tweets. #robble

My top tweet topics (lately): beer, travel, and bus grumbles. #timetodiversify


Dammit, woman, you’re supposed to dab on perfume with your fingertip, not swab it on with a sponge. #marta #hack #cough #wheeze


Seen this morning: man wearing a medium grey pinstripe business suit and an electric blue do-rag. #odd #fashion #marta 


Regular rest last night. Normal work day. Extra caffeine, though. Result? I fell asleep on the bus home. Caffeine’s a stimulant, right? #zzz


Mmm … cookies. #marta #candlerpark


Seen on train: Woman with one of those cosmetology heads, brushing its hair. Either she’s studying cosmetology, or she’s very weird. #marta


I saw a battered Gran Torino in the MARTA parking lot this afternoon. It made me smile. #daysgoneby


My love for humanity wavers in sync with my proximity to actual humans. In other news, this train is waaay overcrowded. #marta #rageface


Someone on this bus smells like a wet dog. #marta

Ah. The woman sitting next to me moved, confirming suspicions: a) she was the wet-dog-smelly one b) she was reading over my shoulder. #marta 

The first part of my daily train ride is mostly underground, but there’s a brief break between tunnels — it feels like coming up for air.
And if, by “air,” I mean “cellular signal” that’s even an accurate analogy.


On the train now, headed downtown. RT @CleanAirGA: Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Looking for things to turn green today? How about your #commute?


Guy in front of me on the train this morning is reading a D&D 3E book, looks like the GM’s Manual. #oneofmypeople #martamoment


The intercom is playing a soft, steel-drum version of “What a Wonderful World.” Odd. Also, relaxing. #MARTAmoment


Sometimes I take the green line train just so I can smell cookies baking near Candler Park Station. #MARTAmoment


Ah, a nice, non-crowded eight-car train to carry me home. #MARTAmoment


At least once a week, walking to my car in the train station lot, I have a panicky moment wherein I think I left my keys in my desk.

I have never actually left my keys behind, but I dread the hour-plus round-trip to get them upon the day I do.


Noisy street preacher passing out flyers on the train. I’m surprised to see more than half the passengers accept. #MARTAmoment


Some asshole ran onto the rail tracks, so now a couple hundred people are stuck in this train station. #MARTAmoment #blarg

MARTA promised a “bus bridge” to another station 20 minutes ago. No buses yet. #MARTAmoment #blarg

At least this is happening at the station near the bakery, so there is the smell of cookies to console us. #MARTAmoment

Great. Now I want cookies.
Excuse the babbling. There are three trains’ worth — hundreds — of people waiting here. My crowd anxiety is kicking in.
Trains now running again. Since I am at the very edge of the crowd, it looks like there will be three trains’ worth in line ahead of me.
I’ve been here an hour. MARTA’s “bus bridge” never materialized. Now three trains’ worth of people waiting on platform. #blarg #MARTAmoment 
I appreciate that this incident wasn’t MARTA’s fault, but the agency’s response was pathetic. #MARTAmoment

Guy just offered to buy my hat. #MARTAmoment #nosale


Small graffiti on a train platform wall: Happy skull is happy. #MARTAmoment

Drawn on a brick wall in black permanent marker: a small skull-and-crossbones has a word balloon with a heart in it
*sigh* More expansive than MARTA map today. MT @BigMapBlog : #Map of elevated #railroads in #Chicago (1908) 
This map of Chicago transit train system in 1908 is clearly bigger than MARTA transit train system in 2012.


First cool day of September. Unprepared young men huddle, arms inside their T-shirts. #MARTAmoment


There are logistical reasons why trains drive through a station without stopping, but I still think of them as fuck-off trains.


Just as I tap my transit pass to enter the train station — the point of no return — I realize I left my hat in my office. #MARTAmoment


I have bad bus karma. The bus I just missed left on time. The bus I caught is still idling 10 minutes past time to leave.

Tweet from @zigged: @lastgreypoet Sounds like my luck with choosing checkout lanes.

@zigged This happens to me all the time — MARTA’s most punctual bus driver is always behind the wheel whenever I’m slightly behind.

@zigged The corollary, of course, is that MARTA’s most laid-back, “we’ll get there eventually” driver is running the next bus that pulls up.


Pigeon excrement. Lots of pigeon excrement. #MARTAmoment


Rainbow over my train station this morning. #MARTAmoment #weather #pretty


My train has been boarded by pirates!

Okay, it’s just one pirate.

Selling DVDs.



Cold morning. The trains have increased heating. Result: People sweating in their heavy winter clothes. #MARTAmoment

Absolutely true for me. RT ‏@ajcCan anyone vouch for this study?: Commuting on train, bus often less stressful. http://bit.ly/XCj7gE 

Tweet by @zigged: @lastgreypoet I would rather ride for an hour than drive for half.

@zigged Likewise. Mind you, in Atlanta rush hour traffic, my train ride would take about the same amount of time by car. Screw that.


Double-parked and unattended MARTA vehicle in the Kiss Ride area at Doraville Station. Great example, @MARTASERVICE.

MARTA vehicle wickedly double-parked


Panhandling harmonica player has rhythm. #MARTAmoment


(1/2) Conductor: “Ladies and gentlemen, I do apologize, we are running approximately two minutes behind.” #MARTAmoment

(2/2) Conductor: “I will be attempting to make up the time at this time, so sit back, relax, and hold on.” #MARTAmoment


A puddle of shit, at the bottom of a staircase. #MARTAmoment


No station in all MARTA smells as nice as Edgewood-Candler Park when the wind is blowing from the nearby bakery. #cookies #MARTAmoment

I don’t even need to take the MARTA Green Line, but sometimes I do, anyway. #stopandsmellthecookies #MARTAmoment


Decent service intervals again? Yes, please. RT @RedAndria MARTA planning more rush hour and weekend train service. http://t.co/Ip0xy5i3LB


Man begs for food, receives food, eats, pulls knife, uses knife to sharpen pencil, uses pencil to fill out lottery ticket. #MARTAmoment #wtf

(Note: I probably could have written this with embedded tweets, but by the time I sorted all that coding out this piece would have posted approximately never. Just be happy I went to the trouble of sorting them chronologically rather than leaving them in the reverse chronological order they were in to begin.)

(Additional note: I still make #MARTAmoment tweets, though, as of posting this, I haven’t done so lately. Maybe by the time you follow me at https://twitter.com/lastgreypoet I will have done. #blatantselfpromotion)