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One of the best parts of living in New York City is its subway system. A necessity for locals’ daily commutes, the underground series of tunnels and stations can be daunting for visitors and new arrivals. Follow this guide and you’ll soon be hopping around the city like a subway pro.
In 2013, New York City’s population soared to 19,651,127, and it’s still growing with an in-demand real-estate market (which you can read about on our blog). Naturally, the NYC transit system outranks any other transportation system in North America, and it stands among the largest in the world. Around 5.5 million people ride the subway daily, but New York City also has an extensive bus system to transport New Yorkers all across town.
Image via Flickr by BrainMaY
Image via Flickr by Mr.TinDC
The base fare to travel via bus or subway is currently $2.50, and a single-ride ticket costs $2.75. The Express Bus ticket costs $6 each way. However, most locals who use the subway daily depend on an unlimited monthly MetroCard for $112 or the $30 unlimited weekly card. You can purchase MetroCards at any station with cash or credit. However, as a caution to the debit- or credit-card dependent, you should know buses only take MetroCards or exact fare in coins.
Time It Out
Image via Flickr by TheCoolQuest
The subway trains run about every two to five minutes during rush hour, and every five to fifteen minutes during regular day hours. When heading home after a long night out (between 12:00 am to 5:00 am), expect twenty-minute intervals. As such, it’s important to not only have the subway map handy but to know departure times early. Luckily, there are numerous subway apps to keep you updated and on the platform without a long wait.
Number And Color
Image via Flickr by MTAPhotos
The New York subway ranks first for the highest usage in the United States. Unlike lines in Washington DC and London, there’s no simple guide to “take the blue train,” or some other colored line. Each colored line on the subway features multiple trains. So, as a New Yorker, use numbers and colors to refer to each train. For example, the 4th, 5th, and 6th trains run on the green line. Those numbers are what to remember.
Best Bus Routes
Image via Flickr by Loozrboy
Many locals recommend buying a credit card-sized map, found at any bookstore when you’re starting out. The best time to ditch the subway for the bus is when you’re traveling between Manhattan’s east and wise sides. You’ll usually wait about ten minutes between the departure and arrival of buses.
An Alternative: The Ferry
Image via Flickr by Shaun Merritt
Fancy a trip to Sinatra’s Hoboken, New Jersey? How about Staten Island? The Staten Island Ferry operates daily as a great, inexpensive alternative transportation for trips outside of Manhattan and the five boroughs. Heading to Staten Island lets you enjoy some time with the Statue of Liberty without feeling like a tourist. The ferry usually leaves every fifteen minutes during the week, and every thirty on weekends and late at night.
As much as New York is known for taxis, keep them at to minimal use and opt for public transportation instead. It’s affordable, quick, and converses most of the city.