On a weekday, around 1:30PM, the Atlanta Streetcar is slightly busy. Busy, meaning more people are using it at midday, compared to later in the evening. I prefer to use it at this time, actually, because I feel like I am apart of something. There are usually tourist riding the streetcar and many, usually having their children accompany them.
Riders are peaceful and often taking pictures or simply conversing among themselves. The Atlanta Streetcar has twelve stops, including Woodruff Park, Peachtree Center, Centennial Olympic Park, and Dobbs Plaza, just to name a few. The streetcar is always moving at a steady pace, allowing riders to observe carefully amazing details at each stop. The streetcar is never too fast, unlike the cars traveling alongside it.
When I close my eyes, I hear the door opening with the operator’s feminine voice speaking, announcing each stop. I also hear a woman comforting her toddler, while the old couple across the aisle speak amazingly in their British accents. Each small group of riders, or even individuals, focus most of their attention outside of the windows.
As I open my eyes, I see the older woman raise her camera to take a picture of the Municipal Market on Edgewood Avenue, as we continue pass the Sweet Auburn Market stop. We arrive King Historic District, two stops later and I recognize the senior citizens building, where I voted in the last presidential election for the first time. Moving forward, we stop at the Park Place stop, in the middle Georgia State University’s campus. At this stop, I recognize a few friends walking from the Aderhold building, where some classes are held. There are also a few homeless people sitting in a row of chairs on the sidewalk across the street from 25 Park Place. However, I never see them riding the Streetcar for coolness on a sunny day.
Nonetheless, at each streetcar stop, there’s a ticket booth, where riders can add payments to their Atlanta Breeze cards or purchase temporary tickets to ride the streetcar. Unfortunately for them, the streetcar is practically free because as I step onto a streetcar, each occasion I decide to ride, there are no persons enforcing the payment policy. Today, I am more knowledgeable; therefore, I will not be as oblivious to the fact that I should pay. Currently, streetcar operators are struggling to receive the funds to continue operating.
In essence, the Atlanta Streetcar is a fast and easy way to explore Downtown Atlanta, without riders having to worry about safety, finances, or rude passengers.
I chose to ride the Atlanta Streetcar on a Friday afternoon, around 1:30. I prefer to use it at this time, actually, because I feel like I’m apart of something, compared to other times of the day, when the streetcar rides can be lonely. At this time, I was riding with other individuals and small groups of either couples or friends, touring the city. I use the Atlanta Streetcar often and I always feel safe. I know that most people riding the streetcar are harmless and I never worry about robbery or violence, opposed to my mood on other forms of public transportation.
I recognize that the streetcar driver is not speeding and drives at a speed that allows riders to capture decent photos and still have time to observe the city, while feeling relaxed. The steady pace, I believe, contributes to the peaceful atmosphere between riders. Most riders are usually excited about the ride and wearing smiles, which allows me to be happy that I am apart of something that is so simple, yet satisfying.
The Atlanta Streetcar has twelve stops, each stop having a landmark or small characteristic that defines it. For instance, the streetcar allows an older couple off at the King Historic District stop and I notice the building where I was able to vote, in the most recent presidential election, for the first time. Flashbacks, allowing me to feel proud; proud that the year I became legal happens to be the year that a presidential election takes place.
A few stops later, we arrive at the Park Place stop. Here, I recognize several homeless people sitting in the park that is on the same side of the street as the stop. It is a warm day, so I know they are not well without the ability to grasp cool air at some point during the day. In the midst of the nice ride, this created a feeling of sadness in me; I always wish that there is something major that I can do to help them. Occasionally, I bring the homeless people around campus snacks and drinks, but I still know that that is not enough. It is very hurtful to see so many homeless people in a city with so many wealthy people. Nonetheless, it is possible for them to ride the streetcar for free; therefore, they should take advantage of that.
Importantly, the Atlanta Streetcar now has a one dollar fare for riders, although it is not enforced. Initially, rides were free, but the Atlanta Streetcar is struggling with operation costs and found a way that they thought would help to cover the costs. I used to be unaware of the financial needs that the Atlanta Streetcar has, so I felt confident in being a rider and not paying the unenforced fare. Today, I am informed of the financial barriers taking place with the Atlanta Streetcar, so I choose to pay more often, to better support the city and boost my confidence as a new Atlanta resident.