An Efficient Way of Getting to Atlanta’s Airport Using its Subway System


Ari Meier

If you must transfer from the blue line to the red or gold line to the airport

I analyzed MARTA’s rail times to answer the question: how long would I have to wait for a southbound gold or red line train after transferring from an eastbound or westbound blue line train? Of course, this is if MARTA is running according to schedule. I’ll admit that this information might be useless for anyone traveling on MARTA other than those going to the airport. The times analyzed are roughly between 4:45 am and 10:30 pm Monday through Friday.

coming from h.e. holmes station to 5 points

What I found is if you’re heading to the airport and you’re traveling from any station between the blue line’s Hamilton E. Holmes station and the Dome/CNN/GA World Congress Station (or whatever they’re calling that station now), getting on at HEH station at 3:27 pm, you would wait no more than 2 minutes between exiting the blue line train at Five Points and getting on the southbound train These are all gold line trains heading south. This holds true if you get on at HEH station every 10 minutes between 3:27 pm and 6:47 pm.    

Things change up a little when leaving HEH station between 7:33 pm and 8:09 pm. The headways are now 12 minutes between trains but leaving at the 4 times between 7:33 and 8:09 will not have you waiting for more than 2 minutes for your southbound train (this time they’re all red line trains).

Coming from Indian creek station to 5 points

On the eastern side of the blue line, getting on at Indian Creek station at 7:31 pm heading west to Five Points, you would wait 4 minutes for a southbound train (this is a gold line train). There are no 2-minute waits between westbound blue line trains and southbound gold and red trains.

Getting on at Indian Creek 4 times between the hours of 4:49 am and 5:49 am, would make you wait 5 minutes at Five Points for the next southbound train (all red line trains).

Looking at the box plot below, we find that being on the blue line between HEH and the Dome stations heading east to get on a southbound gold line train is more favorable if you don’t like waiting on a train for more than 2 minutes.

While the blue line eastbound to a southbound gold train is the king of 2-minute wait times, a train heading westbound on the blue line has an average wait time of 7 minutes (the same as an eastbound blue line train to a southbound gold line train) and has less time variance. Time variance is greatest on eastbound blue line trains to southbound red line trains.

The winner of the overall lowest amount of waiting for blue line to gold or red line heading south goes to a westbound blue line train to a southbound gold line train.  

See the raw data here


Copyright 2018 © Ari Meier

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