Transportation in New York City : A Guide To Getting Around NYC

Heading to New York City? Well, you must be well aware of the huge size and even more enormous amount of traffic you will experience in the Big Apple. No wonder getting around the NYC can get a bit tricky if you’re not familiar with all the options you have.

Here we will be looking at a detailed guide on how you can get around New York City with ease (or at least simply get around, forget the ease!) Don’t worry though, there are a lot of options and NYC got you covered – after all, it is the most populated city in the world!

1. Buses and Subway

If you can’t walk to your destination, the next thing you should consider is availing the mass transit – the bus and Subway system run by the MTA New York City Transit. It operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – and is an inexpensive and environmentally friendly way to get around the five boroughs.

The first step to getting around on the NYC subways and buses is purchasing a MetroCard. You must keep a minimum value of $5.50 on the card when initially purchasing it, excluding the card fee of $1. These can be purchased from subway stations from either automated machines or booth attendants.
You can choose between a Single-ride card, Pay-per-ride card or an Unlimited MetroCard. The former of these offers either a bus or a subway ride and costs $3 (it offers bus to bus transfer, but not between subway and bus).
An Unlimited MetroCard allows you to ride as many times as you want within a limited period – options include 7 days for $32 or 30 days for $121.

The MTA also offers a 50% discount for seniors (65 or older) and disabled riders as well as a bonus credit of 5% for purchases of $5.50 or more on pay-per-ride cards. Also, a fare-paying adult can be accompanied by up to 3 children each for free with a maximum height of 44 inches. Children under 2 can also ride express buses for free if they travel in the lap of an accompanying adult.

2. Taxis

The iconic yellow cabs or green Boro Taxis are licensed and regulated by the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission. Taxis are certainly a popular way to get around the city for locals and visitors alike, especially when tired feet or heavy luggage weigh you down. They are easy to recognise and are the only vehicles in NYC that are allowed to pick up passengers in response to a street hail.

Drivers are also bound by law to take passengers to any destination in NYC. They can’t refuse a person based on destination, disability or race within the five boroughs. If anyone is subject to discrimination, they can call 311 to file a complaint – the same number where you can call to inquire about lost items.

A taxi shows its availability by illuminating the yellow light. A taxi with an illuminated number on top is available for duty. Taxi rides are metered with a minimum fare of $3 and increases with time and distance. Note that the tolls are extra and will be added to your normal taxi fare, which can be paid in cash, or credit, debit or prepaid cards.

3. Ferry

New York being a waterfront city, has a lot of waters, and naturally has a lot of way ways to travel through them. NYC is home to an extensive ferry system to get you uptown or downtown across the NYC rivers.

The Staten Island Ferry Service has been operating since 1905s and is a must in any sightseeing itinerary. The route between Staten Island and Manhattan is a 5-mile, 25-minute mini-cruise with amazing views of the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan. The best part of them all – the Staten Island Ferry service is free!

Although the ferry rides of NYC aren’t a part of the MetroCard system, you can take a boat ride for the cost of a subway ride and the 50% discounts for seniors or disabled people are available, as well as children under the height of 44 inches travel for free. All the ferry stations have ticket vending machines that accept cash or cards, or the tickets can also be bought on board, using the NYC Ferry App or their website.

4. Bike/ Pedicab

Biking across the city is good for both the environment as well as your health. NYC, like many other major cities, has a bike hire program where you can get access to many bikes that you can pick up or drop off at various points.

Citi Bike is a New York bike-sharing system, open to both locals as well as visitors available 24/7. There are around 10,000 bikes at around 600 stations where you can pick up or drop off the bikes. Daily, three day or annual passes are available to avail this service costing $12 a day and $24 for 3 days.

With the one or three day passes, you can ride the bike up to 30 minutes at a time, post which, an extra fee is incurred. So, if you need to ride for longer, it’s best to drop that one off and pick up another one from a station. This threshold is 45 minutes in case of the annual pass.
Also, note that the Citi Bike program require you to be 16 years or older to rent and ride them.

If you want less of physical exhaustion and cycling sounds like a lot of effort, you may want to hop into a Pedicab – three-wheeled cycles with drivers to take you to your destination, or for a tour, with fares ranging from $3 to $7.

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