New York City Subway Guide
Riding the NYC Subway Made Easy - Part 2

In the first part of these instructions you learned how to read a subway map, now lets find out how to get into the subway system, how much it costs, and some other useful information.

How to Get Into the Subway

Once you find a subway station, getting into the subway system is easy. The first thing you'll need to do is get a MetroCard. New York Subway Token Machine Gone are the days of the subway token, and cash or coins cannot be used to pass through the subway turnstiles. You can get a MetroCard at the token booth in the station, at the MetroCard vending Machine (also located in the train station), or at many Newsstands, Delis, Bodegas and other neighborhood merchants around the city.

The best feature of the MetroCard is that you can transfer from bus to bus, from bus to subway, or from subway line to subway line free of charge.

How Much Does it Cost

Entrance into the New York City Subway Systems costs $2.75. However, there are several ways that you can reduce the cost of riding the subway.

MetroCard TypeFeaturesCost
Pay Per Ride Metro CardAdd as much money as you wishfrom $5.50 to $80
7 Day Unlimited7 Days of Unlimited Rides$31.00
30 Day Unlimited30 Days of Unlimited Rides$116.50

If you are going to be in the city for 7 days, then the 7 day Unlimited MetroCard is the best value. Every time you re-enter the subway system or ride a bus (that doesn't involve a free transfer), you reduce the cost of each trip.

Keep in mind that once you use an unlimited MetroCard, whether its a 7 Unlimited or a 30 Day Unlimited, you cannot swipe the card at the same station for 18 minutes.

Before You Swipe Your Metro Card...

Look for any Service Advisory signs. These are very important because they let you know about any changes to subway service for the subway line you plan to ride.

This is the time to get directions from the token booth clerk if you find that after reading the subway map you're still not sure what train you should ride and which direction. Most New Yorkers don't mind giving strangers directions, but truth be told, most of us natives still get on the wrong train from time to time, or only know the directions to places we frequent. So, for the most reliable directions, ask the token booth clerk. After all, that's their job.

You've Passed Through the Turnstile, Now What?

You've successfully entered the subway system, you know which train you need, and what station you want to get off at. Here are a few tips to make the rest of you trip a breeze.

  1. Read the Signs. - Every subway platform has several Black and White signs letting you know what train going in which direction will arrive on either side of the train platform.
  2. Let riders off before you get on. - You'll notice a lot of natives don't follow this advice (they want a seat), but its best to let those getting off get off first before you board.
  3. Step lively please. - Don't stroll onto the train. There are probably others trying to board the train behind you, and they don't want to get crushed in the doors.
  4. Move to the center of the train car. - Again, many natives don't follow this advice, but if you move to the center of the train car, its easier for others the board and exit the train.
  5. Give your seat to the elderly, infirmed or the pregnant. - Please give up your seat to people with canes, crutches, casts, walkers and women who are pregnant if you are able-bodied. Its the right thing to do.
  6. Pay attention to announcements. - Truthfully, you won't understand the garbled announcements a good portion of the time, but you should still try to understand what's being said. It could be important.
  7. Cooperate with the Police. - Due to the times we live in, the police may ask to search your bags. Don't take it personally.

Once you know you can make a transfer from one train line to another at a particular train station, the actualNew York Subway Platform transfer is a breeze. In most instances, the various train lines run either on the same platform and you simply have to wait for the train you want to transfer to pull into the station, or you have walk a few stairs to a different platform. The Black and White Signs clearly indicate all transfers.

Subway Safety Tips

The New York City Subway system is the safest its been in 20 years. Here are some safety tips so that your trip on the subway will be a quick, easy and safe one.

  1. Don't run for your train. - Most accidents that occur in the subway system are slips and falls. There's another train coming, we promise.
  2. Stand back from the platform edge. - You really don't want to fall on the tracks. It's a pretty long fall, there's a lot of electricity, and worse of all there's rats.
  3. Riding late? Ride with the conductor. - When I ride the train late at night (or early in the morning), I always ride in the car where the conductor is standing. Generally, the conductor is in the fifth or six car.
  4. Don't travel between cars when the train is moving. - Again many Natives do it, but it's dangerous. If you must change cars, try to wait until the train is stopped.
  5. Stay alert. - Sleeping on the train, especially late at night when you are alone, is not the best idea.

Hopefully these instructions will help you navigate the New York City Subway with confidence. Enjoy New York City!!

New York City Subway Guide Part 1