A DETAILED guide on how to ride the subway in New York City. Topics include: General New York City Subway Information, planning your trip, tickets, getting in the station, finding your train, riding the train, exiting the station, transfers, and wash your hands! The NYC Subway has 472 stations serving 27 subway lines and runs 24 hours a day. Routes are identified by letters (A,B,C), or numbers (1, 2, 3). In many stations you can’t simply get out of the train and go the other direction. You have to exit the station and re-enter. Make sure you are going the correct direction.
Uptown is typically “North”
Downtown is typically “South”
Express vs Local Trains:
Local trains stop at every stop
Express trains skip stops
The map will show white circles, which are express AND local stops. Black circle only local trains.
New to the subway? Just take the local trains.
Planning your trip:
Get an app: Citymapper
Google Maps works too
Or look at the subway map -- free printed ones are available
Tickets: Buy a metro-card for $1, and load it up. Each subway ride is $2.75. Or a single ride ticket is $3.
You can buy or load the metro-card at any subway ticket machine with cash or credit card.
Cash machines are big, but only return $9 in change. Credit/debit machines are small.
There is no “daily” card, but a weekly unlimited ride card is $32
Getting In the Station
Entrance that are always open have green lights
Exit only or part time entrances have red lights or no lights
Be careful of single direction entrances
To get in the station you’ll swipe your metro-card on the turnstile. Either waist high, or full height turnstile. Swipe at a medium speed, then push the turnstile.
Wheelchair, stroller ask the station attendant to open the gate.
Finding your train
Look for the route (letter or number) and direction. In big stations you may be walking for up to 15 minutes.
Make sure its the correct direction, Uptown/Brooklyn is typically “up” (North), Downtown/Brooklyn is “down” (South)
Riding the train
Don’t bother listening to the announcements, think new york accents, lousy microphones, and lousy speakers make it hard to hear. It’s best to count your stops. Know the name of the stop just before yours.
Don’t stare at people
Don’t get on an empty car. It either smells, or the AC is broken.
Remove your backpack, if you’re sitting put in on our lap.
Stay awake… you might miss your stuff, and your stuff might get stolen. Yes, pickpockets operate on the NYC subway.
If you’re standing, hold on to the railing. Locals might not be, but they are used to the motion.
Exiting the station
Simply push on the turnstile, you don’t need to swipe out
Your Metrocard swipe is valid for two hours for transfers to buses from the subway, bus to bus, OR bus to subway. But not SUBWAY to SUBWAY. You need to take a “bus” to make this work.
Wash your hands or use some hand sanitizer when you leave the subway. Definitely don’t eat anything until your hands are clean.
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5:20 don't bother listening to the announcements? Actually it's good to keep an ear open as sometimes sudden changes occur (might skips stops or next stop might be last stop) while on the train. Some trains use automated voices while others have a live person saying what stop is next. Depends on the train. No app will tell you in real-time if there's a delay up ahead,whether that be a police investigation or the always fun "sick passenger" announcement. If you're a tourist, you should pay even more attention. The Wifi also works only when the train pulls up to the station. It dies when it goes inside the tunnel. All stations are Wifi enabled. If anything,ask an MTA attendant or the train conductor before boarding,if you have any questions.
Don't look at people. Don't talk to anyone. Beware of thieves. Hardly any toilets. Use sanitiser. Don't eat. No coverage in tunnels. No location indicators in carriages. Yikes; makes Sydney's trains (176 stations, 506 miles) and integrated light rail, ferries and buses sound like heaven, even with a cost of up to $15.80 (about US$11.00) a day.
Fantastic video. I so wish I had seen this before I went to NYC last week. I wasn't aware that you couldn't change platforms within the stations like you can in London and got caught out a couple of times, having to pay an extra 2.75 for the privilege! D'oh!
It would be worth it to pay some college student to show you how to do this crap if like me you are just visiting for a week. I’ve never had to ride a bus or take a train and December in NYC May not be the time to start.
If you want to get to your destination on time, car isn't best choice because of the heavy NY traffic. Plus you'll find fnding a parking space is very hard. Many in NY have cars and still use the subway to get to work or school.
Tips #2 from a native NYCer-
Please please please, DO NOT HOLD THE DOORS. You are stopping the train from leaving and holding up the one behind it. That makes you seem like a huge jerk and people might be pretty pissed at you.
Tips for those who ride the R-
I’ve been going there constantly for years and I can say that they’ll get re-rerouted to either Queensbridge (To Manhattan-bound) or Roosevelt-Avenue (To Queens-bound) it has happened so much times I’ve lost count
Don’t forget that free WiFfi and cell service is available in all 282 underground subway stations!
For Wi-Fi access, just log on to the TransitWirelessWifi through your network settings. We’d love to see a video about how to access free Wi-Fi while traveling in New York!”
+Dawn Catlin-Strait It's really not that bad. I'm from WNY and I went to NYC for the first time and rode around in the subways for the first time. People can be rude for a reason. It's a fast paced environment and there is not much time to really slow down for many people. Many folks depend on these trains to get to work. People have places that they need to be at a certain time. People are focused on want they need to do and where they need to go. They don't want the stress of dealing with random strangers added on to what's on their minds. A lot of NY'ers are approachable and somewhat friendly to a point, but just be straight forward and get to the point. Don't blab on and on with small talk and you'll be fine. When you get on and off the trains, hurry up and keep up with the pace of the other people, or else they will get pissed, and rightfully so. You'll be fine. Just observe what others are doing and try to blend in with them. I personally loved NYC.
+Dawn Catlin-Strait Don't worry, Miss, it will be OK. Just don't ride the subways during the rush hours and, like this video said, do not go into empty (or one person) cars - the smell alone will kill you. And if you need to ask for directions while underground, trust me, you will pretty quickly learn whom to ask and whom to stay away from.
My gosh! This is extremely over whelming. Maybe I will not be riding the subway after all. I hope I don’t regret spending the holidays in NYC, I’m from the south and we are way too friendly but these comments make NYers sound rude.
A very lucid description of subway travel in NYC. I grew up and lived in NYC for almost 40 years, moving in 1988. I remember when the trains (tokens) cost 15 cents for a ride. Seems the subway ran better and was cleaner in those days, but don't get me started. That app/ i phone thingy is soooo 21st century and I guess it's probably a good idea. Don't talk to strangers (basically anyone) unless you need directions and a thick NYC accent will insure that the information is correct. Remember poor english equals lousy directions. Personally, I hate the metro card, tokens were a hell-of-a-lot simpler. One ride one token, ya can't screw that up unless you're a freakin' idiot. Yeah a pocket full of tokens is a pain but you could always sell them back at any token booth. FYI, the guy or gal's title selling metro cards in the booth is "railroad clerk". Well done video, Chris. Informative and fun.
Great video. Enjoyed it and certainly learnt from it. This might sound silly, but i'll say it anyway.....i've watched a few youtube videos on riding the subway. It might be different when I'm actually there, however inside a station, there seems to be multiple signs giving directions to trains. Some mention rush hour times, when its an express, weekend, late nights....would like some more detail on interpreting the signs (like I said, might sound a bit silly, but.....). Cheers
not many will do it, but you can do bus-to-bus transfer, the only free subway-to-subway transfer you can do while walking from station-to-station is between the Lexington Av-59th St station (4, 5, 6, N, R & W trains) and Lexington Av-63rd St station (F & Q trains) because those two stations are too important to not have a free out-of-station transfer
That's for the PATH SmartLink card. That place is actually not an NYC subway station. Its the WTC path station (which hosts trains that go between Manhattan and Jersey). The path trains support both path card and pay-per-ride metrocard that's why he could use metrocard there.
As a native NYer who watched this for the lulz, I have to agree with Jose. Not listening to announcements is why I see dazed and confused tourists constantly wondering why they ended up in X when they were trying to go to Y. The 4/5/6 and 1/2/3 lines are the biggest culprit for changing up which line they're using or suddenly a local train is going express because of signal problems, etc. And the thing about terrible speakers really only applies to the older trains. The newer trains with electronic boards all have good speakers and you had best pay attention.
In general the biggest piece of advice I have for tourists coming here period is pay attention. Especially during rush hour. You're here on vacation but we're trying to get to work or go home--please step to the side if you need to look at your phone, not deadass in the middle of the platform. And don't be afraid to ask somebody if you need help, seriously. Contrary to what you've seen on tv and in movies, we're not rude folks--it's just that etiquette rules work differently in a densely populated city of 8 million people. Most of us don't mind helping. I'm damn near 40 and been riding the trains my whole life. I know the system like the back of my hand, and I know it can be intimidating or confusing for people who aren't used to its quirks. I work near the WTC and whenever I see people looking lost I offer help. Most of the time they're shocked, lol. But you've not had a real NYC experience until you get 3 people arguing over the best way to get to somewhere after a tourist asks somebody how. We all think we know everything about this town and we don't mind showing it, lol.
if you ever watch old clips of the new york subway it looked really filthy. it looks way better now and a little cleaner. also whenever i think of the new york subway, i think of Seinfeld when Kramer is on the train fighting for a seat and fighting for that newspaper.
oh yeah the rats. summer is the worst. you walk around all day. then you go down to the subway and its worse. you feel dirty then you also see the rats crawling under there. those are the moments when i wished i was back in the tokyo subway where they its still cool and clean in the subway.
Seriously? Dude, try visiting Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore, etc. and you'll see how ridiculously outdated the NYC subway is. Most European cities do a lot better, too. $2.75 is outrageous considering the low standards.
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