New bus service from Atlanta to Florida beaches to launch next month

In an era of record gas prices and ballooning vehicle costs, an intercity bus operator is launching a new service this summer as an alternative way to whisk Atlanta residents to the sandy beaches of the North Shore. gulf.

Atlanta Beach Bus Express, an affiliate of Atlanta Sightseeing Bus Tours, will begin service July 14 from a park-and-ride just south of downtown to Panama City Beach, Florida.

The bus company has been operating in Atlanta since 2016, offering a North Georgia Wine Country Tour and a five-hour sightseeing tour of the city. They plan to operate round-trip service to Florida, covering about 300 miles each way, through Halloween this year, company representatives told Urbanize Atlanta. Trips cost $85 per person each way.

The company sees Atlanta as a prime market for the service because it’s several hours from the nearest ocean and because Atlanta residents, they say, are hesitant to go to beaches with astronomical numbers. gas pumps right now.

“Take a nap on board or read your favorite book and let us drive,” reads the official Atlanta Beach Bus Express spiel. “Save money on gas, wear and tear on your vehicle, hotel parking fees and a potential speeding ticket…”

The initial five-hour route that Atlanta Beach Bus Express will cover. Google Maps

For anyone interested in ditching the driving aspect of hitting the beach, here’s what you need to know:

Atlanta Beach Bus Express departures will depart from a hub at 7 a.m. Thursday through Monday each week at Park N’ Fly Plus Atlanta in College Park (2525 Camp Creek Parkway).

There is a $10 daily fee for parking. Alternatively, Atlantans bound for Florida can ride MARTA to College Park station and take the 82 bus to the Park and Ride.

After the 56-passenger coaches depart Atlanta, they will stop once for a short restroom break. The company aims to arrive in Panama City Beach at 12:30 p.m. each day.

The drop off location is the centralized Pier Park, naturally behind a Margaritaville and across from the beach.

Customers can return to Atlanta any day between Thursday and Monday. Departures are at 3 p.m., with arrivals estimated at 8:30 p.m. in the city.

Atlanta Beach Bus Express

According to Atlanta Beach Bus Express, phone outlets are included under each reclining seat and the buses have Wi-Fi. Face masks are recommended but not required.

The company said it plans to expand its services to more beaches in the future.

• MARTA expands ridesharing to Alpharetta, Avondale Estates, Morrow, more (Urbanize Atlanta)

Melvin Z. Madore