Living in ATL Without a Car

By Chanda Mwansa, MPH’24 in Global Health

Living in Atlanta without a car is definitely possible, but it can require some additional planning and effort. Atlanta is a city that is largely designed for cars, so getting around without one can be a bit of a challenge. Being an international student, I didn’t have the privilege of driving/shipping my car to Atlanta, and not having a car took some getting used to. However, with some creativity and flexibility, it is possible to navigate the city using public transportation, ride-share (e.g., Uber & Lyft), biking, and walking.

One of the biggest advantages of living in Atlanta without a car is that it can be much more affordable. Owning and maintaining a car can be really expensive, so living without one can help to save money. Additionally, it can be a more environmentally friendly option, as it reduces carbon emissions and road congestion (not sure if you heard, but Atlanta traffic AND drivers are crazy).

Atlanta has a fairly extensive public transportation system, including buses and trains. The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) operates trains and buses throughout the city and surrounding areas, and many major destinations can be accessed via public transportation. MARTA rides are $2.50 each and this includes transfers. Emory also provides a free shuttle service with multiple routes around campus and the surrounding areas. This is what I use to get to and from campus during the week, allowing me to use my transportation budget for other things (*cough* food *cough*). Additionally, there are several ride-sharing and bike-sharing services available, which can be convenient for shorter trips. Ride-share apps tend to be expensive, so I’d suggest using them only when necessary.

If you don’t have a car, make sure you look for housing close to campus or on an Emory shuttle/MARTA route to make your life easier. Of course, once you settle in and make friends you’re likely to meet people who have cars and you’ll be able to carpool with them. After all, public health is all about collaboration 😉

Overall, living in Atlanta without a car requires more planning and effort, but it can be a great option for those looking to save money, reduce their environmental impact, or simply try out a different way of getting around the city.

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