New York City can be an intimidating place to get around. Whether it's your first or 50th time here, the question remains the same: How do I get where I need to go?
From public transportation to private-car services, here's a guide so you won't miss your ride. Prices and availability may vary, so it's always best to check websites or apps for the most up-to-date travel information.
NYC Public Transit
MTA Buses: There are more than 300 bus routes in all five boroughs, with every bus being wheelchair accessible. The base fare for the bus is $2.75 per ride, payable by Metrocard or exact change (no dollar bills; use coins, but not pennies). You can pay per ride or get unlimited weekly/monthly Metrocards if you plan on being in town for awhile. Bus stops are located at street corners and are labeled with a bus emblem and route number. Often you will see a "Guide a Ride" attached to the bus stop pole - this displays the bus schedule and route map. Crosstown buses run east/west and are helpful to take in neighborhoods where subways only run uptown/downtown, like Harlem or Chelasea and the Flatiron District. There are 61 express routes that mostly run during weekday rush hours, but note that their fare is $6.50.
MTA Subways: The NYC subway system connects four boroughs (sorry, Staten Island) with 24 lines traveling to 469 stations. Like buses, the base fare for the subway is $2.75 per ride, but is only payable by Metrocard. Subways run 24/7, though overnight hours and constuction shut down some lines or disrupt routes at various times. Some stations are home to one to three lines, often of the same color. (Each train has a number/letter and a color associated with it.) But there are several stations throughout the boroughs that are hubs for multiple lines and where one is able to transfer easily to a different train. For out-of-towners and NYC residents alike, it's important to know where you can make a connection.
Some of the larger terminals in Manhattan are:
- Columbus Circle (SW corner of Central Park) - A, B, C, D, 1
- Times Squares (Midtown) - A, C, E, N, Q, R, 1, 2, 3, 7, Shuttle to Grand Central, Port Authority Bus Terminal
- Grand Central Terminal (Midtown East) - 4, 5, 6, 7, Shuttle to Times Square, Metro-North Railroad
- 34th St/Penn Station at 8th Ave (Midtown) - A, C, E, intercity railroads (Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, Long Island Railroad)
- 34th St/Penn Station at 7th Ave (Midtown) - 1, 2, 3, intercity railroads (Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, Long Island Railroad)
- Union Square (Union Square Park) - L, N, Q, R, 4, 5, 6
- Fulton St (Financial District) - A, C, J, Z, 2, 3, 4, 5
There is no official app for the MTA, but there are plenty of unofficial apps that let you know schedules, service changes and maps. For more information about all NYC Public Transit, call 511 (the New York state transit and traffic line).
NYC Taxi Services
NYC Taxi Cabs: More than 10,000 yellow cabs service NYC. Passengers pay an initial charge of $2.50, plus additional surcharges including bridge and tunnel tolls, if applicable. Up to four passengers can share a taxi and they can pay with cash or credit/debit cards. There is no minimum fare for using a credit/debit card, nor any additional fees for doing so. You may see green taxi cabs every now and again. Those are boro taxis and serve areas of NYC underserved by yellow cabs. Remember, if the medallion numbers on the roof of the taxi are lit up, the cab is available. If the medallion lights are off, don't bother trying to hail it. Official app: Arro (free on iOS and Android)
NYC Car and Limo Services
Carmel Car Service: Available 24/7 for service to/from airports as well as hourly rates to travel around town, Carmel offers affordable rates for its fleet of sedans, vans, SUVs and limos. Minimum hours and pricing for hourly service will vary depending upon time of day and duration. 866.666.6666. Official app: Carmel Limo (free on iOS and Android)
Commonwealth: Chauffered luxury sedans, SUVs, vans and limos for comfortable transportation around town. Fees and rates are not listed on their website, though this is a high-end car service and would be priced accordingly. 800.558.5466. Official app: Commonwealth Worldwide (free on iOS and Android)
Dial 7: Affordable fleet of sedans, vans and party buses, in addition to luxury sedans, SUVs and stretch limos. Rates vary within Manhattan or if you want to go to the other boroughs, though there are flat fees to/from airports. Dial 7 offers service to/from theater performances and sporting events so there is no need to worry about finding parking. 212.777.7777. Offical app: Dial 7 - NYC Car & Limousine Service (free on iOS and Android)
Empire CLS: This professionally chauffered black car and limousine service offers a fleet of luxury sedans—think Mercedes-Benz and Rolls Royce—in addition to larger vans and SUVs to accomodate larger parties. Not an on-demand service, online reservations need to be made at least six hours in advance. 800.451.5466.
ExecuCar: Customized car service available any hour, any day. You can request point-to-point service or an hourly charter. Fares are quoted in advance and minimum hourly charges vary dependent upon location. Late-model or luxury sedans are available, as are SUVs. 800.410.4444. Official app: SuperShuttle/ExecuCar (free on iOS and Android)
Gett: Rides available through app-only booking, you can get a car now or up to two weeks in advance. This service offers flat rates even if you get stuck in traffic or are riding during peek hours. Rides in Gett's corporate black cars are just $10 below 110th St. 855.200.4388. Official app: Gett GetTaxi (free on iOS and Android)
Lyft: Available 24/7 if you need a lift to the airport or a ride somewhere around town. Base fees start at $3.00 but can go up depending on demand or time of day, plus additional fees for tolls, if applicable. Trips can be one-stop or have multiple stops per ride. There is a two-way rating system where the drivers and passengers rate each other after the ride. Drivers do undergo background and DMV checks. Official app: Lyft (free on iOS or Android)
My Sedan: This luxury-car service provides stylish and comfortable rides in sedans, SUVs, vans and mini coaches for larger parties. Rates vary depending on where you're going, plus tolls and tips. Online and phone reservations can be made 24/7. 212.434.0400.
Uber: Choose among everyday cars, taxis, high-end sedans, SUVs and other luxury vehicles. In NYC, drivers go through DMV and background checks conducted by the Taxi & Limousine Commission. They offer a two-way rating system and driver profiles so you know who is picking you up. Prices in NYC were lowered in January 2016 resulting in a base fare of $2.55, the per mile rate of $1.75 and per minute rate to 35 cents. Rates often go up during peek hours or when there aren't enough drivers in your area. Official app: Uber (free on iOS and Android)