When I first started riding MARTA to work I would buy weekly or monthly passes made out of paper. They would be a different color each time and the monthly cards had a pattern on them. But nothing exciting. Then, in September 1995, they started making plastic cards. These had full-color pictures on them and they started with a series of cards with pictures of Olympic athletes for the upcoming 1996 Olympics. After the Olympics they started other series featuring local colleges, MARTA station artwork, MARTA employees, holidays, and even had one with the color-coded terrorism threat levels (I guess it would make a handy reference . . . they said “red”, now is that good or bad?).
I’ve gotten my money’s worth from each one, using one 40 times or so a month. Then they go into a drawer with all the others. With each trip being 10 miles, I have saved 48,000 miles of wear and tear on my car and saved about 2,000 gallons of gas from being burned. So now I have 120 cards. At about $40 each, that’s almost $5,000 worth of MARTA cards in my drawer. Now worth zero.