You land in New York and have no idea how to get around? Don’t panic! With this guide on how to get around New York you will have all the city’s transportation under control!
New York is huge, moving around on foot can take hours, luckily it has a very extensive public transport network and the whole city is well connected.
Every time we go we use most means of transport, depending on where we are going we opt for one or the other.
Although the subway is still the undisputed king of transportation in New York connecting the entire city through different lines.
Here we go with all the options to know how to move around New York like an expert!
One way not to waste too much time on transportation is to stay in the middle of Manhattan, for example near Times Square which is in the middle of everything, we stayed at the Times Square Pod last time.
Getting around New York – Index:
TAXI or UBER
TRANSFERS FROM/TO AIRPORT
TIPS ON TRANSPORTATION IN NEW YORK
Getting Around New York : Transportation
1. The New York City Subway
For us the best transportation in the city and the best way to move around New York is the subway. It connects the whole city from one end to the other and it’s rare not to have a subway station anywhere nearby.
Plus it’s cheap and you save on the traffic jams that can be caused by taking a taxi or bus.
Just be prepared to go up and down the stairs because many of the stations don’t have an elevator.
Don’t expect to see a lot of glittering seasons either, they’re usually pretty dirty… something that never ceases to amaze the first time you set foot in New York.
Where can I buy a New York City subway ticket?
At the ticket machines you will find just before the metro entrance, you can pay in cash or by card, and you can choose Spanish language.
What types of MetroCard are there?
Physically all the Metrocards are the same, except for the single use cards, for the rest of modalities we have to buy the card that costs 1$ and then add the balance depending on what we want:
Single ride card: It is a single use card and costs $3, it cannot be reloaded. It is valid for the next two hours from the time you enter the subway, you can make transfers.
Pay per ride: We buy the Metrocard for $1 and then add credit to it, it works as a wallet card and the rides cost $2.75.
7-day Metrocard: Unlimited travel on bus and metro for 7 days. You can directly select the option of Metrocard for 7 days, it costs 33$ + 1$ of the Metrocard. If you already have a Metrocard you can add the 7-day bonus and save the dollar on the card.
30-day Metrocard: Same as above but for 30 days, costs $127.
For 7 days in New York we recommend you to buy the 7 day Metrocard with unlimited trips, you will save time and money in transportation.
Getting Around New York City : Subway
How do you plan a route on the New York City subway? Applications for moving around New York
Google Maps works very well in New York, when you make a query to reach a destination it indicates the nearest subway stop, the line you have to take and possible transfers.
On our last trips we have used Holafly’s cards to have internet on our mobile phones and to be able to stay connected all the time. From our link you have a 5% discount!
The official application of the public transport of New York is MYmta (for iPhone, and for Android) is free and indicates the breakdowns or closed stations in real time, we use it mainly for buses in Manhattan, appears the time remaining until the bus arrives, among other things.
What are the local and express trains in the New York City subway system?
There are “local” and “express” subway trains, the locals stop at all stations and the express trains at some stations only, on the map we can distinguish them by:
White spot stations, is where express trains and local trains stop.
Black dot stations, only local trains stop.
Watch this point! If you get on an express train and want to get off at a local station, you will see how the subway skips the station you wanted to get off at full speed (we know this from our first time in NY…).
How can I get a map of the Manhattan bus network?
In the app of MYmta you have a lot of info about how to move around New York, there appears the free map and you can consult it offline, we always carry it like that.
If you want it on paper, in the vast majority of metro stations it can be requested free of charge from the staff at the information points.
New York City Subway
2. Bus in New York
There are also a number of bus lines that connect New York City.
They are not as fast or as frequent as subway trains, but they get to more places.
We also like them because on the way you can see things, buildings, parks, New York life…
We recommend if you have enough time to get on the M20 bus that goes from Time’s Square to the financial center, crosses Manhattan from north to south on Seventh Avenue, a real sightseeing tour.
The buses that start with X type X22, X23 are express and the fare is $6.75, in these the Metrocard of unlimited trips does not work. These buses connect to Staten Island.
There are also the tourist buses of two floors, they come very well to go to all the tourist points and not to complicate with the transport in New York, it is not the quickest form but yes that it is a comfortable option, some of the tourist cards of New York have it included, or we can buy the loose ticket.
How much is the bus in Manhattan?
Fares are the same as for the New York City subway $2.75 a ride but you can use the Metrocard for unlimited travel.
How do you get around New York City by bus?
Just as with the metro, we recommend that you have the internet on your mobile phone and consult Google Maps or the iPhone’s Mapping App to calculate the best route.
The official MYmta app (for iPhone, and for Android) is free and tells us in real time where the bus is and how long it will take for the next one to arrive.
Can you pay with your mobile phone as in other cities like London?
They are implementing a system called OMNY, which is expected to be 100% operational by the end of 2020. It currently only works on a few metro lines but will gradually be extended to the entire metro network.
How can I get a map of the Manhattan bus network?
You have it in the app of MYmta and in all the buses, just behind the driver, there is usually a map of the whole network of buses in Manhattan, you can take a picture of it with your mobile phone to have it at hand.
Transportation in New York
3. Taxi or Uber
Moving around New York in a taxi or Uber is not the most advisable because of the traffic jams that usually form in Manhattan, but it is also a very comfortable option.
Between the two of us we recommend Uber, we like it because you know the price you are going to pay before accepting the car, no surprises.
However, the taxi works as usual, with a meter, the price may vary depending on the traffic.
New York taxis charge $2.5 for every 1/5th of a mile or for every 60 seconds you travel at less than 12 mph, plus other extras depending on the time of day or night, tolls…
Remember that in the United States it is customary (almost obligatory) to tip virtually the entire service sector, including taxis. We’ll tell you more about this in the post about tips for travelling to the United States for the first time.
Getting around New York : Taxis
New York has a few miles of bike lane, but unless you are used to moving around the city by bike it is not a recommended means of transportation.
New York City is an asphalt jungle!
However, there are some places where we do recommend you to rent a bike, like in Central Park or to cross the Brooklyn Bridge. These are quieter areas to go by bike and they are also a great experience to do in New York.
If you want to take them booked from home and get to the point, you can book them here.
Getting around New York by bike
5. Rental car
On our first visit to New York we rented a car to go to Washington DC and Niagara Falls. For the excursions it went very well but for moving around New York it is a real madness.
Expensive parking lots and constant traffic jams, New York is not prepared to move by car unlike other cities in the U.S. like Los Angeles or Miami where it is much easier.
If you are planning to do some excursion in a rental car you have much more info in the post of advice to rent a car in USA, we always rent in the web of Auto Europe since some years ago and we find very good prices.
Rent a car in New York
6. Travel from/to airport
There are several options to get from the airport, we talked about them in detail in the post about how to get from JFK to Manhattan and here I will summarize them briefly:
Metro: To get to the metro you must first take the AirTrain that runs through the airport, paid upon departure and costs $7.5 + $1 from the Metrocard.
Shared transfer: The option we chose in our last trip, you share a mini-bus with more travelers. You can see the prices and book on the GetYourGuide website.
Taxi: If you are several people it can also be interesting, the fixed price from the airport to Manhattan is $52.
There are a few more that we explained in the post from JFK to Manhattan, but these would be the main ones.
Transportation in New York
7. Tips on Transportation in New York
If you arrive at JFK airport and take the subway to Manhattan, the same Metrocard you will pay ($1) for the AirTrain is good for unlimited travel in New York, you just have to recharge it.
Express trains are very interesting for long journeys to Queens, Coney Island or Brooklyn, as the journey time is reduced considerably.
If you go on the metro with suitcases or a baby carriage, you can exit through the emergency door which is right next to the barriers.
The subway ticket is only valid at the entrance, when we leave the train we cross the barriers just the same, even in the bus.
Children under 110 cm in height do not pay and can go under the barrier or ask the office employee to open the door.
More or less we calculate that from four days onwards you are interested in an unlimited travel pass.
The Metrocard for unlimited travel is per person. The time that has to be spent at one station for the barrier to open again is 18 minutes (so that two people cannot use it).
In the subway lines that move vertically with respect to the map we will see in the Uptown or Downtown stations depending on whether we want to go to the south of the island or to the north, the same happens in other stations where the subway moves horizontally (with respect to the map) we will see West or East.
There are buses that have air conditioning very high in summer, we wore a jacket if we knew we had to take one.
Apart from the subway and the bus, with the Metrocard you can cross with the cable car to the island of Roosevelt.
Washington Square Park, New York
And so much for our post about transportation in New York!
We hope that we have solved all the doubts about how to move around New York, but if you have any left, we are waiting for you in the comments!
Don’t forget to take out your New York travel insurance with a 5% discount from our link! With Iati you won’t have to advance a single dollar if anything happens.
Other articles from our trip to New York:
NEW YORK IN 7 DAYS, DAILY ROUTE + TRAVEL TIPS TO NEW YORK FOR FREE 15 TIPS TO TRAVEL TO NEW YORK FOR THE FIRST TIME WHERE TO STAY IN NEW YORK, BEST NEIGHBORHOODS BUDGET TRAVEL TO NEW YORK 7 DAY TOURIST CARDS IN NEW YORK, ARE THEY WORTH IT? 60 THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN NEW YORK WHERE TO EAT IN NEW YORK, 20 RECOMMENDATIONS HOW TO HAVE INTERNET IN USA – SIM CARD 10 MUSTS TO VISIT IN NEW YORK CHEAP ACCOMMODATION IN NEW YORK HOW TO GET FROM JFK AIRPORT TO MANHATTAN CHRISTMAS IN NEW YORK – TRAVEL GUIDE