Georgia Bus Line: my trip to Atlanta

In October, I was in Atlanta for a few days, for the APTA Expo, which was a public transit industry convention and trade show.  On a slow day during the convention, I snatched away a few hours to make an inspection of Georgia Bus Line.

I ubered over to Buford highway, the main road served by this company. A bright orange minibus showed up, and i made a round trip. The driver correctly identified me as a tourist. From him, I was able to gather the essential facts about the route.

What was dismaying, but completely expected, was that no other APTA Expo attendees I met had even heard of this transit service.

This company which, as far as I know, is the only jitney bus operation in Georgia, or the South as a whole. Essentially, it is exactly the same as a jitney bus back in New Jersey.  The story is similar. The company was founded in 2001 in order to provide convenient transit service to the Hispanic immigrant communities northeast of Atlanta.  It parallels a public MARTA bus route, the 39. You can read the Wikipedia article here.

Challenges to jitney bus service in this part of the country are a little different than in New Jersey. Population density is much lower. Most of the route can be characterized as suburban sprawl. Not exactly a transit-friendly environment, but they make it work.

According to Wikipedia, in 2006 “Three of its buses were burned shortly after the company had provided free bus service to a pro-immigrant rally”

There was a random chunk of asphalt and wood block at the front of the bus being used as paperweights of sorts

The interior was just like the buses back home in New Jersey. Oddly soft seats, air a little too warm, loud engine, etc.

The route runs along Buford Highway between Lindbergh Station and Don Quixote Grocery Store in Doraville. The driver made an announcement asking if anyone was going to Doraville Station, but no one responded, so the driver didn’t go down the station driveway.

Other particulars: The fare is $1.50, and the schedule shows the bus running approximately every 20 minutes. The driver had a handwritten timetable of departure times, but there was no public copy. In typical jitney fashion, I saw several jitneys in the other direction driving directly ahead of the MARTA 39. The service operates approximately 6am to 7pm, 7 days a week.

Overall, I find it heartening that jitney buses can survive in suburban Atlanta. To me, this indicates that the business model can work in many more areas, outside the densely populated city neighborhoods it is associated with in New Jersey and Brooklyn.

Further reading:

Ramos, Rachel Tobin (17 January 2005), “Private bus service on a roll”, Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Buford Highway and the Royal Bus Lines”  Profiling Atlanta Transportation. November 27 2011.

Mysterious Market Street – Route 46 – Teterboro Route

Seen on 40th Street: Jitney bus with a sign reading “New York: Route 46 East Junior Ave/ Paterson Market St. / Teterboro Union City: 42th St. & 8th Ave”

I asked the driver if, in fact, he had come from Paterson via Teterboro, but he said no.

This raises the questions:

  • Is this an actual route?
  • If so where did it go (other than Route 46 and Market Street)?
  • Was this a previous route that is now defunct?
  • Where is Junior Ave? I couldn’t find any such street on Google maps

Jitney bus observations

In my work as an outside observer of the jitney bus system, I have realized that much of the information I gather is too anecdotal to publish as fact. I have also developed a considerable body of personal opinions on the jitney industry.

This type of information isn’t especially relevant for the informational part of the website, which is mostly route names, maps, frequency and fares. I decided to make a blog post section of the website, which I hope will be a more appropriate venue for:

  • The broadcast of my thoughts and general market observations
  • News articles
  • Research on private transit systems that are not New Jersey jitney buses
  • Mysteries about the jitney system that I have not unraveled
  • Changes to the main website about genera jitney information (this will serve as a change log)
  • Pictures of jitney bus signs with amusing typos

I aspire to become the writer of the only (and therefore, the best) jitney bus blog. This, with persistence, will not be hard.