New York City Transportation Options

As you might expect, your choices for getting around while living in NYC, are many and varied, running the gamut from the famous subway system to buses to commuter trains—and yes, some people do opt to drive their own personal vehicles. It may take awhile to familiarize yourself with all the options, but just consider it an adventure and have fun while doing it.

Start exploring online first, because you can see the various maps of the city transportation routes and at least get the big picture. That way it kind of puts it all into perspective, and the maps also allow you to hone in on the area where you will be living and get familiar with it quicker.

A really neat innovation is HopStop, where you can get directions for the subway and buses all over the metropolitan area. Simply visit and enter the address you’re leaving from, together with your destination address. HopStop is similar to MapQuest, but with a lot more detail—not only do you get directions and a map, but also you can choose your transportation mode, how you prefer to travel, and you will get departure times and directions to take you where you wish to go. is another site that provides transportation directions to areas surrounding New York, including Boston, Washington DC, New Jersey, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Norfolk, to name a few.

Don’t let the size of NYC intimidate you, and don’t be hesitant about using the subway—it’s probably the cheapest way to get around and do a little exploring. And using the subway system in this great city is vital to get you accustomed to finding your way around with the least amount of hassle.

Google can recommend the quickest way to get to where you’re going. Also, check out the MTA’s site at The Big Apple’s subway system runs 24/7 to all five boroughs. Sometimes, however, delays may happen on the weekends, because one or more of the lines must be serviced. But you can get updates on these delays on the MTA site.

If you’re looking for detailed subway directions, provides just that, but it also tells you the quickest way, the way that will involve the fewest transfers, and the way that entails the least amount of walking.

A free service of the New York State Department of Transportation, provides detailed travel info within the five boroughs of NYC and surrounding areas. This is a really neat site, in that you can just click on your selected map as to both starting point and destination, and it’s all laid out for you—quickly, easily, and very clearly.

You may be wondering what it costs to ride the subway, and where you can get tickets and when. No problem. Buy MetroCards from vending machines located inside most subway stations. They are also sold at newsstands, hotels, delicatessens, and at some subway station booths as well.

A MetroCard (ticket) will cost $2.25, unless you qualify for reduced rates, in which case you can just open an account for $1o and then never pay more than $44.50 a month, no matter how much you ride. But to be eligible for reduced (half) fare, you have to be at least 65 years old or have a qualifying disability. Riding is free for children up to 44 inches tall as long as they are with a paying adult (up to three kids per adult).

Also, any time you buy a MetroCard for more than just one single ride, you will be able to save money. Especially check out the unlimited MetroCards, because you can get good deals here if you are going to be using the subway more than once a day. For a one-day unlimited card, you’ll pay just $8.25; pay for seven days ($27), and you’ll save even more. If you’re going to do some “heavy duty” exploring for two weeks, get the 14-day card for just $51.50 or the 30-day one for only $89. You can quickly see how much of a bargain these unlimited deals are!

Get a subway map, and if you take the time to familiarize yourself with it before getting onto a platform, you’ll be glad you did. As stated earlier, don’t let yourself be intimidated, but you have to apply common sense here—as in not standing too close to the platform, not straying very far from an area if you’re unsure as to where you’re headed, etc. If you do require assistance, help is available from a station attendant or from a transit cop.

Trains are coded by number and color, which are prominently marked on the fronts and sides of the trains and also clearly indicated at the stations. The lines are either local or express and are clearly marked. See a map of the entire New York City subway system at

Before the advent of modern bridge building techniques along with tunnels and elaborate viaducts, train ferries (huge ferries onto which entire train—including passengers—were loaded and the unloaded at the destination dock). Just thought I'd throw that in, since I just now found out about them and thought you might like to know as well.

So now in New York there are plenty of bridges, tunnels, and viaducts that make it easier to get around by automobile as well. The main problem with individual vehicles in this huge metropolis is the cost of parking them. I’m talking about $431 being the average monthly parking garage charge! Even though there are some garages that give discounts if you enter into a 6-12 month contract, the cost is still prohibitive for the average Joe. Well, you ask, how about parking by the hour? These rates are also exorbitant at anywhere from $6 to $25 and up, depending on the neighborhood. Don’t know about you, but riding the subway or bus looks a whole lot more attractive to me!

So there you at least have an idea of where to start looking at your options for navigating NYC and how much you can expect to pay for the various modes of transportation.

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