New York City Public Transportation

New York Public Transportation

New York City Public Transportation

Public Transportation is a good way to go in New York City

Public Transportation is a good way to go in New York City

Traveling around New York can be quite confusing for the NYC tourist. Luckily, the NYC public transportation system is extremely efficient and can transport you to wherever you need to go. There are a number of different types of travel depending on the destination and amount of time you have for your trip. The subway NYC provides is clearly the most popular, along with NY water transportation and NY City buses.

Before you attempt to navigate New York City, spend a few minutes reading this, NYCtourist's New York City Transportation Guide. Here you'll find excellent resources on New York City public transportation, including a New York City bus map and tips on riding New York public transit. If you're looking for a more personalized experience, you might consider NYC car rentals or NYC limousine services. Of course, there's nothing so cost efficient as NYC public transportation.

NYC Airport Travel

NYC Airport Transportation is easy to use.

NYC Airport Transportation is easy to use.

Whether you are flying into the John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport,  or the Newark Liberty International Airport, there are plenty of ways to get you to and from without breaking the bank.  AirTrain JFK operates 24 hours a day and links to NYC subways.  A one-way fare is $5, kids under five ride for free and you may use your pay-per-ride MetroCard or JFK AirTrain 10-trip MetroCard for your fare.   AirTrain Newark is free within the Newark Airport when connecting to airport terminals, parking lots, hotel shuttles and rental car facilities.  Otherwise, AirTrain Newark is $5.50 per one-way of travel.  Another way of travel to the airport you may want to consider is by helicopter.  The Downtown Manhattan Heliport is located near the East River, North of Staten Island at Pier 6, New York, NY 10004 is just a seven minute ride to the Newark Airport and Teterboro Airport.  If you are traveling by private jet, consider landing in Teterboro Airport to avoid commercial air traffic and just 12 minutes from Midtown Manhattan.

New York City Subway

The New York subway system transports 1.5 billion riders every year.  Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the NY subway is not affected by vehicle traffic and serves as a more effective way of getting to and from your destination.  The subway NYC offers is categorized numerically and alphabetically and travels between 30 and 40 miles per hour.  New York subway stops are typically located on street corners along with New York City subway maps as well as a map of the surrounding neighborhood.  The NYC subway travels through Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens with limited stops throughout Queens and Brooklyn.  Handicapped seating is available for riders that need assistance and make sure you hold on tight, New York subway rides are not always smooth excursions.  All NYC public transportation fares may vary depending on how far your destination is, what time of day it is, and what time of the week it is.  For the New York City subway, you must pay for your ride using a MetroCard, no other forms of payment will be accepted.  Click here for a map of the NYC subway system.

NYC Bus Transportation Information

The NY bus system works in all five boroughs of New York and has become one of the main transportation systems commuters use.  Seating is on a first come, first serve basis and MetroCards are used for payment.  Keep in mind that although NY bus fares are cheaper than taxi rates , they are affected by traffic congestion and are just as likely to be delayed.  Express buses are available and cost $5.50 per ride and stop less times than public buses to get you to your destination faster.  The following are bus route maps for all of New York: 

The New York Bus System

The NY Bus has become one of the main transportation systems commuters use.

For more NYC public transportation maps, visit our New York City Maps page.

New York Taxis

NYCTourist Travel Info

New York City - Wash. D.C. Bus Service

NYCTourist Travel Info

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Using a MetroCard for NY Subways and Buses

New York MetroCard for NY Subways and Buses

New York MetroCard for NY Subways & Buses

You must use a MetroCard when purchasing a fare for a NYC bus or subway.  If you reach a subway station with a large green circle, that means that you can purchase a MetroCard at that stop, if it has a red circle, you must already possess a MetroCard to ride.  Up to three children 44” tall and under may ride for free and all infants (two and under) ride for free as long as they sit on the lap of their guardian.  Seniors (65+) and disabled persons receive a discounted rate for all public transportation in NYC.  MetroCards allow free transfers from bus to subway, subway to bus, and bus to bus, as long as the transfer is made within two hours of your initial departure.  Free transfers between subways are permitted if the transfer requires you to exit the subway station to locate another train.  If you use the subway to reach one location and the bus to get back to your original destination, you are only required to pay for one way of travel.  Make sure you double check which entrance you are swiping your MetroCard for, there are many different gates inside one station and no refunds will be given.  If you have any questions, there are subway attendants to help you reach your correct destination.  There are three different type of MetroCards:

  • SingleRide Tickets: sold at vending machines only, these tickets are for one-way trips only and cost between $2.25-$2.50 each.
  • Pay-Per-Ride Tickets: on this card, you can purchase as many rides as you want costing between $4.50 and $80.  If you put more than $10 on your card, you receive a 7% bonus, for instance, if you purchase a $30 card, you will receive an extra $2.16 when you refill your card.  You can refill this card until it expires and use it to pay fare for up to four people at once.  Free subway to bus, bus to subway, and bus to bus transfers are permitted within two hours of your initial departure.  No free transfers will be granted for bus routes: Downtown Fifth Ave. and Uptown Madison Ave. (M1, M2, M3, & M4), Downtown Lexington Ave. and Uptown Third Ave. (M101, M102, M103), Southbound and Northbound Grand Concourse buses (Bx1 and Bx2), M27 and M50, M31 and M57.  Free transfers are permitted for bus routes: Westbound M31 and Westbound M57, and Eastbound M57, to Eastbound M31, M96-M106, Bx40, and Bx42.
  • UnlimitedRide Tickets: these cards can be purchased for subways and buses, and also a JFK AirTrain card is available.  One seven-day unlimited pass is $29 and grants you unlimited NY subway and bus rides until midnight.  One 30-day unlimited pass is $104 and grants you unlimited rides on New York subways and buses until midnight.  There is also another type of seven-day unlimited MetroCard for $50 that grants access to subways, buses and NY express buses until midnight.  A JFK AirTrain 10-trip MetroCard is $25 and allows 10 free trips on the JFK AirTrain only until midnight for six months.  Each use counts as one trip.  All transfers are free with this card, there are no refills allowed and once it has expired a new card must be purchased.  An UnlimitedRide MetroCard can only be used once at the same transportation stop within 18 minutes to avoid fraud.

NY Water Transportation

A unique way some NY travelers use to commute is by water

A unique way some NY travelers use to commute is by water

A unique way some NY travelers use to commute is by water.  Ferries & NYC Ferry Routes always provide commuters with traffic-free journeys and a peaceful commute.

  • NY Waterway: this service has terminals in Beacon, Haverstraw, Midtown/West 39th Street, Newburgh, Ossining, Pier11/Wall Street, World Financial Center, and various ports in New Jersey.  Depending on your destination, rates range from $1.50 to $20 per adult, with discounted rates for seniors (65+) and children ages 6-11, children 5 and under ride for free.  For specific rates and schedules call (800) 53- FERRY.
  • Sea Streak: this fast passenger service offers indoor and outdoor decks with a cash bar and restroom facilities.  One-way travel is $24 per person, round-trip is $41 per person, children 12 and under are free, and bikes are $5 extra to bring on board.  Travel routes include: Monmouth County, NJ to Manhattan, Atlantic Highlands to Pier 11 (Wall Street) in Downtown Manhattan (Mon-Fri), Atlantic Highlands to East 35th Street in Midtown Manhattan (Mon-Fri), Highlands, NJ to Pier 11 & East 35th Street in Manhattan (Mon-Sun), Conners to Pier 11 (Wall Street) in Downtown Manhattan, Conners to East 35th Street in Midtown Manhattan.
  • Staten Island Ferry: this ferry service has one route, St. George on Staten Island to Whitehall Street in lower Manhattan and is completely free!  The Staten Island Ferry is the only non-vehicular way of travel between Staten Island and Manhattan and transports 60,000 passengers every week.  A service catering to commuters and vacationers, this ride includes an immaculate view of Ellis Island and the Statute of Liberty during its 25-minute journey.  Parking at the terminal is $5.50 and be sure you have exact change, beer and snacks are provided on the boat at the cash-only bar.

NY Rail Service

Another primary source of transportation is New York's Rail Service

Another primary source of transportation is New York's Rail Service

NY rail service is another option of public transportation primarily used to surrounding suburbs of NYC.  The MTA Long Island Railroad (LIRR) is the busiest commuter rail in North American with 124 different stations.  With over 700 miles of track, fares vary depending on how far your trip is and what time of day you are traveling.  By traveling during peak hours, 6am-10am and 4pm-8pm, expect to pay an extra $5-$7 than what you would pay for off-peak hours.  All children five years and under ride for free.  The MTA Metro-North Railroad is a suburban commuter rail that runs between NYC and Northern suburban neighborhoods of New York and Connecticut.  The MTA Staten Island Railway specifically runs through Staten Island only.  The Connecticut Commuter Rail/Shore Line East provides service to Southern Connecticut and PATH(Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation) provides service between Manhattan and New Jersey urban communities and suburban commuter railroads.  If searching for public NJ transit useful services include Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, Newark Light Rail, Newark City Subway, and public buses.