Transportation in New York is utterly important. As one of the biggest cities in the world, New York has a very large and at the same time very complicated transportation system. There are hundreds of different bus lines, 26 metro lines with 1.335 kilometers of rails and a few other means of transport. Not to forget about the yellow taxis that are a trademark of the city. If you are travelling to New York soon, be sure to check out our transportation guide.
As New York is one of the largest ones in the Western world, the distances between different parts of the city are way too big to walk. Tourists and inhabitants of the city may either use the public transportation system including buses, metros, a funicular and ferries or a taxi.
Other up and coming means of transport are bikes that are used very often today even though there are only a few dedicated cycle paths.
Taking the metro in New York is very easy. In most parts of the city, stops are not very far away as the metro stops approximately every eight to ten blocks. In total, there are 468 metro stations throughout the city. Depending on where you want to go, you can choose one of the 26 metro lines that are operating seven days a week and 24 hours a day. Most metro lines are operating in Manhattan with only a few operating solely on the island.
Line G, connecting Brooklyn with Queens, is the only line that is not having a single stop on Manhattan Island. None of the two New York Airports got a direct connection via metro. However, at the subway station Jackson Heights there is a connection to a bus to the La Guardia Airport. The AirTrain JFK is connected with the subway network on both, the Jamaica Station and the Howard Beach Station.
As the metros, buses in New York are colored in silver. All buses got displays with the direction and number of the line. The displays also show whether this is an express service or not. Be aware that Express Buses as well as Express Metros don’t stop on several stations, but offer way faster connections at the same time. Buses and metros can be used with the same ticket.
If you buy a so-called MetroCard, single rides with buses and metros cost 2.75 US-Dollar (~ 2.45 Euro) and can be used for unlimited transfers between buses when not leaving the system via a turnstile. Transfers between buses and metro are also allowed when the total ride duration is below two hours. Single ride tickets cost 3 US-Dollar (~ 2.65 Euro) and don’t allow transfers, but may also be purchased at the driver with the exact amount in coins.
Transportation in New York wouldn’t be complete without mentioning taxis. Taxis are available pretty much everywhere in New York and may be either called (for an extra charge) or hailed at the street. Be aware that some taxi drivers in Manhattan refuse to drive to other parts of the city.
Nowadays, there are three different types of taxis (or cabs as taxis in New York are called in colloquial language): Black cabs are only allowed to pick up passengers after being called and not when being hailed; yellow cabs are allowed to either pick up passengers after being called or when being hailed at the street; green cabs are allowed to either pick up passengers after being called or when being hailed at the street, but only in other boroughs than in Manhattan and in Manhattan above East 96th Street.
Due to the location of New York, ferries play an important role in the transportation system of the city.
The most important one is the State Island Ferry that is connecting Manhattan with its southern borough. This one may be used free of charge, while other ferries, for example the ones connecting Manhattan with New Jersey, have to be paid for use. Another special means of transport in New York is the so-called Roosevelt Island Tram that is not a real tram, but a funicular instead.
Nowadays, also bikes have a greater importance in New York. However, there are only a few cycle paths throughout the city. The newly established High Line is one positive exception.