I’ve driven through Atlanta plenty of times but have never stopped to smell the roses or azaleas. It’s a beautiful late April Sunday in Atlanta so my wife and I and another couple decide to catch a baseball game at Turner Field in Atlanta. Not knowing too much about the ticket demand on a warm spring day, we purchased them online before we headed into the city.
We had a few hours to kill so we walked around the Centennial Park area and the Georgia Dome but the park was roped off for a musical festival so maybe we could take in the area during our next visit.
Before embarking to Turner Field (about 2 miles away), we stopped by CNN tower. Not much to see, however, many restaurant choices so everyone in our group came away full and happy. As we’re exiting, we asked a police officer how to get to Turner Field via MARTA and he suggested we could take a bus that would drop us off about .5 miles from the stadium. He gave us directions that were confusing to catch that bus, which he said, was a 4-minute walk. After about 12 minutes of intense walking we found the bus and the driver said it would be $10 for four passengers even though it was only a 2-mile ride. I obliged, happy we caught public transportation in time. We stayed toward the front of the bus and the driver said he’d mention our stop as we had tourists written all over us.
After we sat down to catch our breath, the driver left the bus for about 20 minutes. Just virtually disappeared. We were flabbergasted as the rest of the passengers just patiently chilled as we continued to check our watches. Perhaps being impatient Yankees made us continually checking the time even though we were seeing the Braves vs. the Mets.
We finally made some progress as he continued on his route, driving through some rougher areas of central Atlanta and thinking the bus was the wise choice. About halfway through the route, many passengers got up to exit the bus and I asked him if this was our stop and he gently said, “Yes.” Perhaps that 20-minute break impacted his short-term memory.
We enjoyed the game and left after the 7th inning, not sure how transportation was going to be accomplished to get back to our car. We found a free shuttle, which was going to get us to a MARTA (subway) station, which would enable us to get back downtown via subway. About halfway through the shuttle, which got quite close to downtown, I could see our final destination no more than six city blocks away, however, not allowed to leave until we got to the subway station.
After it seemed as though we drove in a formation of a large square, we found the MARTA. Apparently no closer to our ultimatum destination than from Turner Field but at least we could utilize the subway.
Much to our chagrin, the subway line was having some technical issues and was delayed for up to 30 minutes and considering tickets were $2.50 with a $1.00 surcharge without a special card, what to do? We asked a MARTA employee who seemed disinterested in providing much service; she just shrugged her shoulders and didn’t provide much information.
Someone in our group suggested Uber and at this point, we all said, whatever it takes. The MARTA employee didn’t seem the least bit interested in the fact we were looking for an alternative to MARTA. An Uber driver arrived in 3 minutes and within another eight, we arrived at our parking structure near the CNN tower.
Should I state the obvious by asking why there is not a shuttle from downtown to Turner Field? This will be the last year of Turner Field even though it’s only 20 years old. Apparently, there are many reasons why the Atlanta Braves are moving to a home in the north suburbs but parking is certainly in one of the key reasons. I’m just wondering why the Braves organization and City Government couldn’t develop some arrangement for parking. Having fans go to a bar or restaurant before the game and then are shuttled over to the stadium. Makes sense to me. A more customer centric and convenient approach? Perhaps the Yankee in me was looking for some practical and sensible solutions to part of the parking issue at Turner Field. Well, when they move up north and reside in SunTrust Park in Cobb County, they won’t have to worry about a shuttle service between a major downtown area and a ballpark 2 miles away. I’m somewhat hopeful they develop a MARTA line directly to the park to help alleviate traffic and allow some visitors and ball park employees other options besides driving.