Atlanta Marta train stationI recently traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, and instead of hailing a taxi cab at the airport as per my usual routine, I decided to ride the rails and experience Atlanta through the MARTA subway train. There are many benefits to taking public transportation such as light rail or subway systems. Not only does it let someone else do the driving, but it offers other benefits for both family and business travelers.

1. Taking the subway system is faster than driving.
Most major cities that offer public rail transportation also experience rush hour freeway tie-ups. Instead of sitting on the road in a sea of cars, take the subway and stay on schedule — or even arrive early to your destination.

2. Light rail can save money.
The cost of a round-trip subway ticket can be a fraction of cab fare or parking fees for those travelers renting a car or driving their own. My ticket from the Atlanta airport to downtown and back cost less than my morning latte, leaving me with enough money for a second one on the way home.

3. Kids love trains.
For a family traveling with kids, a subway ride can be a welcome distraction for fussing kids. It provides a whole new experience than riding in a car and can sometimes be the most memorable part of a trip.

Coffee and MARTA tickets cost the same4. Subway rides provide a new perspective.
Sometimes subway rides can provide a new look at a city — whether it’s graffiti never seen before or neighborhoods that travelers might not be familiar with. Instead of the freeways and side streets, a subway can provide a whole different perspective.

5. Meet and interact with the locals.
Looking for a restaurant to try, or just need directions? Most subway riders are locals who are familiar with the area and who might be willing to provide directions or advice to an out of towner.

No matter how you’re traveling, it’s always important to keep your belongings with you and to be cognizant of your surroundings.