search cityguideny

Subway NYC: Tips for Riding the Rails

October 30, 2015 - by Kristen O'Neal
Print Article Email Article

Subway NYC: If you’ve never visited New York City before, you might be feeling nervous about how to tackle NYC’s famous transit system, the subway. It might seem impossibly complicated, but we have some tips to get you on the right track.

getting around new york by subway

Image: Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York/Flickr

  • Pick up or download a map: You might be thinking to yourself, “But I have a smartphone! It’ll tell me where to go!” Don’t underestimate the value of a physical map—especially if you get lost on the subway, where your cell phone mostly won’t have service!* (*Mostly won’t have service: if you are riding on elevated track, outside of central Manhattan and Brooklyn, you’ll be able to use your phone. The MTA, which runs the subways in New York, is adding WiFi and other phone coverage to more and more stations every year. Check here to see the current stations that have coverage.)
  • Pay attention to the “uptown” and “downtown” entrances: In many other major cities, it doesn’t matter which entrance you take, because all roads lead to the metro system. Not so in New York! Figure out if you’re going uptown or downtown and walk down the corresponding stairs (across the street from one another) to make sure you don’t end up in Brooklyn trying to get to the Met!
  • Invest in a MetroCard: The extra dollar is worth not having to pay for a single ride ticket every time you want to go somewhere, and you can refill your card at any of the MTA machines.
  • Walk to the end of the platform: Or, walk to the area where people aren’t already crowded to avoid the most crowded cars of the subway.
  • You only have to pay once: Once you’re underground, you can transfer to other lines at the correct station without any extra charge past the original $2.75.
  • Don’t get on the wrong train: This might be easier said than done! Make sure you’re going the right direction—uptown or downtown—and keep an eye out to make sure you don’t get on an express train when you need a local. Also, some tracks are home to multiple lines, so check the outside of the car (so you don’t get on the E instead of the M, for example). If you get turned around, just check the maps inside the car.
  • Always look to see which station you’re at: While most subway cars have announcements, a few do not—make sure to check out the windows for the name of the stop on the station walls so you don’t miss your stop.
  • Pay attention to weekend modifications: New York schedules subway maintenance on weekends so that subway delays don’t interrupt or ruin anyone’s weekly work commute.  There are several blogs with up-to-date changes, and these changes will also be clearly posted on papers inside the station. The MTA posts its Weekender here.
  • Give yourself extra time: Because you may have to wait five to ten minutes (or even longer late night) at some parts of the day for the next train, there may be delays, or you may get turned around, allow yourself a range of times to arrive at a destination.
  • Brace yourself: “I can just keep my balance while looking cool and crossing my arms,” you think to yourself.  You are wrong—the handrails are there for a reason!
  • Subway facts: For some fast facts, and a little trivia, click here.

Now good luck, and happy subway travels!

new york subway

Image: David Joyce/Flickr

Looking for Free Group Planning Services?

Get free advice on planning your group's trip to New York.


Name:
E-Mail:
Where is Your Group Coming From?
Type of Group:
Date of Trip:
Areas of Interest: Sightseeing Dining Theater Culture

Shopping Transportation

Group Size:

Enter the code: 1355

RESTAURANTS

Vida Verde Photos

Vida Verde

Vida Verde brings the tastes, colors, sounds, and scents of ...

THEATER

Chicago Photos

Chicago

Kander and Ebb's "musical vaudeville" in which Roxie Hart ga...

SHOPPING

Tissot  Photos

Tissot

Swiss luxury watch manufacturer for men and women since 1853...

SIGHTSEEING

Luna Park Photos

Luna Park

A state-of-the-art Coney Island amusement park that's home t...

SAVINGS OPPORTUNITIES

search cityguideny

Group Booking

This Week in New York City

(9/12-9/19) Looking for what to do in New York? We've got the latest on all the goings-on in NYC, from concerts to museum exhibitions to comedy to the best in city sightseeing. Read on for our picks for the best of this week in New York City. click here

This Week in New York City