The only airport option is Nashville International Airport (BNA) and unfortunately the only budget airline is Southwest. In addition, Nashville is certainly not well known for its public transportation, but this blog will help you find an easy and cheap way to get around. With the price of gas steadily creeping upwards, the addition on an hourly bus from the airport to downtown is great news and should help traveling to the Music City become a lot cheaper.
Public Transportation from BNA
Nashville Metropolitan Transit Association operates one bus to and from the Airport, Route 18 (Elm Hill Pike/Airport). For the purposes of this blog this route basically runs between the Nashville Airport and the Downtown Transfer Center. Essentially, wherever your final destination you are going to need to transfer downtown if you take the bus from the airport. Don’t let this be discouraging, as Nashville is not a huge city and transferring is quite easy.
Route 18 runs from the airport to downtown starting at 7:10 am until 10:45 pm. It runs approximately every hour. An express bus runs from 7:10 am to 11:15 am and then starts up again at 6:45 pm. The express route takes about 20 to 25 minutes while the local route takes 30 to 35 minutes. Oppositely, Route 18 from downtown starts at 6:15 am and runs until 10:15 pm. The express bus runs from 12:50 pm until the last bus at 10:15 pm. Typically, the cost for the express bus is $1.85 and for the local bus is $1.35 for a one-way trip. A unique feature of Nashville MTA is that all the buses accept debit or credit cards in addition to the normal cash fare boxes.
Getting to your final destination
Once you have arrived downtown there are several options for transfer depending on where in the city you are planning to visit. If you are headed to Vanderbilt Medical Center or Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital there is a direct route on Bus #7 (Green Hills) that will take you to those destinations with no transfers. If you are headed to Baptist Hospital Bus #3 (West End) and Bus #10 (Charlotte) both service that destination. Vanderbilt University Undergraduate Campus can be reached by taking Bus #3 (West End). Lastly, Meharry Medical College and Metro General Hospital can be reached by taking either Bus # 19 (Herman) or Bus # 25 (Midtown). All of the routes and destinations listed above will get you directly to your destination without any transfers. This is merely an overview, a more detailed itinerary can be found using the Trip Planner.
There are also some cheap alternatives to taking a taxi from the airport if public transportation is not your style. If you are headed to Vanderbilt Medical Center, Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital or Vanderbilt Undergraduate Campus you may want to take the Grayline Airport Express. This shuttle only makes certain pre-determined stops and you want to request Vanderbilt Medical Center for any of the above destinations. The cost is only $12 dollars one way and $20 dollars roundtrip. I believe if you mention you are student you can get a round trip for $15, which is a great deal. This shuttle will also take you to any of the hotels in the downtown or Vanderbilt area for the same price. The hotels they travel to are listed on their website — Grayline Airport Express. The second option is Supper Shuttle, which can take you to more specific destinations throughout the city. The easiest way is to call Supper Shuttle with the zip code of where you are headed and they will let you know if they service your destination. The cost will typically be $15 dollars for a one way and $30 for a round trip. Supper Shuttle would be a very good option if you are heading to Baptist or Metro General Hospitals.
Just for comparison, it costs about $25 dollars one way to take a taxi from the airport.