I'm spending five weeks this summer at a vocational program in Atlanta, and I have to take both MARTA rail and bus to and from the site Mon-Sat.
After learning that I'd need to purchase a Silver Breeze Card and make yet another online account (grumble) in addition to purchasing a fare pass, I figured the cheapest plan was to buy a 30-day pass and 7-day pass to cover the 36 days. (Wonderfully, there's a promotion through the end of May for $24 off a 30-day pass.) All in all, just under $100 for 36-day access to metro transit. I'm impressed!
As my signature suggests, I'm generally familiar with commuter rail, but MARTA is new to me. I have several questions for those of you who've used it.
1) What's the fare payment system for the rail and bus, respectively? My card will first be used at the airport station on the Gold Line. How should I use it properly at that station?
2) I read that the passes don't begin their timeframes until the first day of use. What happens if one card has two time-based passes? Do they both begin on the first day, or do they automatically stagger? (More practically: should I cancel the 7-day pass and wait to purchase it until the 30-day pass has expired?)
3) Any tips for navigating the MARTA network? Advisements about unreliable routes and/or neighborhoods to avoid are appreciated.
Also, I'd appreciate any suggestions of things to do/see in ATL, since this will be my first time in the city.