Transportation In New York City
New York City is a bustling, vibrant metropolis, full of activities and excitement—and with a little know-how it can be easy to get around in too.
Of all the cities in the US, New York City is perhaps the most pedestrian-friendly. And our public transportation system is one of the most comprehensive in the world. Most locals will advise you not to bring a car when you move here, as expensive parking and bad traffic can make it more of a headache than it’s worth. Plus, you can often get to your destination faster by simply taking the subway, a bus, or a taxi. Here is some information to help you get acquainted with NYC’s transportation options.
New York has the largest subway system in the world, but don’t let this intimidate you, it is very easy to navigate. Routes are marked by numbers and letters, and signs at the platform tell you which direction trains are headed (e.g. Uptown, Downtown or Brooklyn-bound). Trains run 24-hours per day in all of the five boroughs, with one train every 2-5 minutes during rush hour, one every 5 to 15 minutes midday and evenings, and one approximately every 20 minutes after midnight.
You can get a free map at any subway station booth, they are posted on station walls and in the subway cars, or you can view one online at the MTA website. Websites like Hopstop, are also useful in planning out your route and estimating the time it will take you to get there. Furthermore, the subway is one of the most affordable modes of public transportation (after walking of course). You can buy a Metro Card at most stations with a credit/debit card or cash, and you can get a variety of unlimited and dollar-amount Metro Cards that can significantly lower the price-per-ride.
Your Metro Card will also work on any of the city’s extensive bus routes. With over 200 local bus routes and over 30 express bus routes in the city, riding the bus can be a very convenient option. It is also a great way to see the city, and get your bearings—as opposed to zooming to your destination underground. You can find bus routes and schedules listed on the MTA website (www.mta.info).
Taking a taxicab is another great option (though more expensive). You can easily hail a taxi near any EHS location, as well as throughout Manhattan and in parts of Brooklyn, Queens and The Bronx.
How to hail a cab:
- Find a good spot on the side of the street where you are visible, but also safe (street corners are great). Though it is not necessary, it is best to hail the cab on the side of the street where the traffic is headed direction that you want to go.
- When you see a yellow cab coming along, simply stick out your arm to wave it down. (Everyone has their own style when it comes to hailing a cab, but an arm straight up or a little to the side should do the trick).
- It is important to look at the lights on the roof of the cab. A light lit in the center only means the cab is available; no lights means it is taken; and lights lit on the sides mean it is off-duty and most-likely won’t stop.
- Once the taxi pulls over, get in the back (always get in and out of the curb-side door to avoid other cars), and let the driver know where you want to go. Telling the driver the cross street on either side of your destination helps them know exactly where you want to go.
- In NYC taxicabs you can pay with a credit/debit card or cash, and it is customary to leave a tip.