Getting Around NYC: The Ultimate Transportation Guide


The Big Apple is the most populous city in America, but since eight million cars will not return to the island of Manhattan, the city depends on its vast and efficient transportation system. It’s no surprise that the city that never sleeps has 24/7 public transportation. Between the metro, the bus and the occasional Uber, you’ll be covered once you’ve moved here. . Read on to find out everything you need to know to get around New York like a native.

From the airport

NYC has three major airports. Here’s how to get to Manhattan from each:

JFK: It takes about $ 50 to take a taxi to Manhattan, so we recommend you take the train, which is much cheaper. It takes approximately 40 minutes to take the Airtrain to Jamaica Center, then board train E towards the World Trade Center. The quickest way is by Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). Once you take the Airtrain to the Jamaica Center, buy a train ticket to Penn Station.

La Guardia: Uber or taxi takes only 20 minutes.

Newark: Take the New Jersey Transit to Penn Station.

Metro MTA

NYC has the largest fleet of public transportation in the world. The metro mixes more than a billion New Yorkers and tourists in the city each year. Every day, more than five million people take trains through underground tunnels and tall structures to the neighborhoods of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. (Staten Island has its own separate train system, called the Staten Island Railway.) Trains that go to Manhattan are trains to Manhattan, trains that go to Brooklyn are trains to Brooklyn, and so on. This large and complex system can be intimidating but after a few trips, you will find that the metro is the fastest, most convenient and cheapest way of getting around the city.

Take the subway in New York


First, download the metro system map and find the route you want to take. Next, look for train numbers or letters under the station name. A station with a white dot means that local and express trains stop at that station, while a black dot indicates that only local trains stop there. Be careful, because some train services, like 6 or 7, can be express or local depending on the time and direction of the trip. You may notice that some stations are connected by a black line – this indicates a physical passage (usually a tunnel) between the two stations, which means that you do not need to exit or swipe your MetroCard® again. .

The MetroCard®, the MTA fare payment system, can also be used on the MTA bus, the Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) bus and on the PATH system. It only costs a few dollars whether you get off at the next stop or at the end of the line. People who use public transport prefer to buy an unlimited monthly subscription, but you can also just buy a one-way ticket. Metro physical cards will be replaced by the OMNY Tap-and-Go contactless payment system (One Metro New York) by 2023.

Almost all of the New York subway is open 24 hours a day. Trains arrive very frequently, especially during the week. Just find your station and platform and wait for the next train. The routes of the MTA trip planner are sorted by the fastest, least number and least walking transfers. Leave early and expect delays.

The buses

MTA is also responsible for the city bus system, commuter train lines, bridges and tunnels and the Staten Island Railway. New York’s fleet of public buses operates 24/7 and is the largest in North America. The Port Authority Bus Terminal is the busiest bus station in the world. According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, its NYC Transit buses run in the five boroughs, on more than 200 local lines and 60 express.


Local bus lines are labeled with a letter that indicates the borough (B for Brooklyn, Bx for the Bronx, M for Manhattan, Q for Queens and S for Staten Island) and a route number. Express routes are indicated by the letter M at the end, so the Staten Island Express bus service to Manhattan via Lincoln Tunnel starts with SIM. Most express buses only operate on weekdays during peak hours. Each bus stop has a QR code that you can scan to find out what time the next bus will arrive.

As of this writing, the bus price is $ 2.75 and can be paid with a MetroCard or exact currency (no dollar bills or pennies). If you use your MetroCard, you get a free bus-metro transfer to use within two hours. An unlimited MetroCard Ride includes all transfers for free, but you cannot use it on Express buses unless you purchase a 7-day MetroCard Plus Bus Express. If you are paying with coins, you can request a transfer from the bus driver when you pay for your ticket and he will give you a single-use MetroCard for a free transfer between buses with intersecting routes.

In addition to city buses, there is also the Jitney, which connects Manhattan to the Hamptons every day throughout the year. The aforementioned Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) bus is a local bus system that serves the counties of Nassau and Suffolk of Long Island as well as the eastern parts of Queens.

Commuter rail network


Need to go to the “burbs”? With more than 250 stations and 20 rail lines, New York’s suburban rail network is the most extensive in the country. The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) takes commuters to … you guessed it, Long Island. The main Metro-North Railroad lines run north from Grand Central station to the New York and Connecticut suburbs, while west of the Hudson, Metro North’s Port Jervis and Pascack Valley lines Railroad serve Jersey from the Hoboken terminal of the New Jersey Transit. PATH, which stands for Port Authority Trans-Hudson, also links New Jersey to New York.

The combined systems converge at the Grand Central Terminal and the Pennsylvania Station. More commonly known as Penn Station, you can find this busy intercity train station inside Pennsylvania Plaza between the seventh and eighth avenues in Chelsea on the edge of Midtown. In addition to the New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Railroad, Penn Station serves the metro and Amtrak.

Amtrak in NYC

Get out of town with Amtrak. Philly, DC and Boston are all fast trips, while night trains connect NYC to Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans and Miami. Take Amtrak south to Charlotte or Savannah, or north to Toronto or Montreal.

Ferry at NYC

The Staten Island Ferry is the busiest ferry in the United States, offering free 24/7 service between the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Manhattan and St. George on Staten Island. No car is allowed on the ferry since September 11, but you can bring a bike. The journey takes approximately 25 minutes and is a favorite with tourists who want to travel the lower Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty. In addition, the NYC Ferry serves Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx along the East River for the same price as a subway ride.



If you just have to take four wheels, then a taxi or carpool is the way to go. There are taxis everywhere. Green taxis are a rental service that you must have arranged in advance – you can’t just hail them (unless you’re above West 110th St and East 96th St or in the outer boroughs), but otherwise, it’s $ 2.50 just to get into the cabin at which point they start to cut you (instead of nickel and dimming). It’s 50 cents for every fifth of a mile, 50 cents for every minute the taxi goes under 12 mph, another 50 cents if your trip is between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., and another dollar if it’s between 4 and 8 p.m. on a weekday. You can see why most New Yorkers take the train instead.

Carpool apps

In addition to Uber and Lyft, NYC has another carpool service called Via.


New York is the most pedestrian city in the country and thanks to its rectangular street grid, it is also quite easy to navigate. The avenues go north / south, while the streets go east / west. The number of streets increases as you head north and west. Manhattan is divided into a few geographic regions: Uptown (north of 59th St), Midtown (between 59th St. and 14th St) and Downtown (south of 14th St). The city center and the city center can also indicate which direction you are going. If you head north towards Central Park, you go to “downtown”. Going south towards the World Trade Center is called “downtown”. “Crosstown” means east / west. Long blocks, or east / west blocks, are also called cross blocks. The north / south blocks along the avenues are called short blocks.



Biking is another great way to get around, although NYC isn’t known as the most suitable place for bikes, with its potholes, bike lanes blocked by delivery trucks and parked cars, and a plethora of pedestrians. In addition, the NYPD is known for ticketing cyclists to respect quotas. However, commuters, delivery and courier (utility cyclists) and recreational cycling clubs take to the streets on two wheels. Membership in Citi Bike, the city’s self-service bicycle system, is $ 169 / year, or you can pay by the race or by the day. Just download the app and take a bike to one of the hundreds of stations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Jersey City. Pro tip: don’t lock your bike onto scaffolding, which can be easily taken down by thieves.

New York’s Best Boroughs for Public Transportation

It is important to find the right New York neighborhood to call home, as this will inevitably be part of your New York identity, but getting somewhere close to public transportation is a must. The further you go (think of Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx), the more affordable the accommodation becomes.

Brooklyn and Queens are located at the western end of the Big Long Island. Most parts of Brooklyn are easily accessible by the subway line C. Queens is the largest borough of square miles, but despite its size, it is very convenient to get in and out of Manhattan, sometimes without even changing trains .

Ready to use all this information? Search Thousands of New York Apartments on Zumper and find the one that’s right for you (or the one closest to a metro line).

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