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How Atlantans can get paid for ditching their cars this week

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Earn $5 per day to test-drive mass transit, cycle, or walk to work

Two MARTA buses passing each other.
Advocates say the time is now to try MARTA buses and trains, as well as other options from metro transit agencies.
James Willamor

An advocacy group focused on removing Atlantans from vehicles and putting them on bikes, buses, trains, and their own two feet is bribing drivers to give mass transit a try.

Well, not exactly. But Georgia Commute Options, a program led by the Atlanta Regional Commission, is in the midst of its Get On Board promotion.

Until this weekend, the program is offering to pay eligible commuters $5 a day to test clean travel options.

Those who got in at the ground floor of the program, which launched April 25—the American Public Transportation Association’s National Get On Board Day—could reel in up to $150 collectively just to use a bus or train for traversing the city.

Participating transit agencies include MARTA, Xpress, CobbLinc, and Gwinnett County Transit.

A photo of the Beltline trail
The Beltline is more than a trail for tourists.
Jonathan Phillips, Curbed Atlanta

“With Atlanta being recognized as one of the top five fastest-growing metro areas in the nation, it’s crucial that employers and residents work together to adopt clean commute options, including transit, that reduce traffic congestion and improve regional air quality,” said Jill Goldberg, Georgia Commute Options marketing director, according to a press release.

The initiative aims to encourage metro Atlanta employers to push workers to utilize transit options at their disposal, effectively benefiting the environment and bringing awareness to the fact that cars aren’t imperative for traveling the region.

Less than 20 percent of Atlantans use the city’s public transit systems, bikes, or their own two feet to get to work, according to the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.

Yet 25 percent of city dwellers live within a 10-minute walk or bike ride from the nearest transit station, the research says.

“This indicates a significant growth opportunity for expanded transit use in metro Atlanta,” says the release.

The program isn’t Georgia Commute Options’s first attempt at getting people to “ditch their routine and try transit.”

The organization’s “Try Transit” initiative this past fall did much the same thing as the Get On Board program, offering $5 per day to metro Atlantans who opted to leave the car in the garage or driveway.

Anyone interested should check Georgia Commute Options’s website to see if you’re eligible for the promotion.