Activities & Resources
Subways351in New York (citywide), NY
New York City has three subway lines (and counting): the IRT, BMT, and IND. The IRT trains are numbered lines, the IND trains are generally the "front of the alphabet" letter lines (like the "A" train), and the BMT trains are generally the "end of the alphabet" letter lines (like the "R" train).
The mass transit currency is the MetroCard, which is swiped through a slot in the turnstile as you enter the subway station.
"Unlimited" MetroCards allow you to ride all you want for one price (there are 7-Day Unlimited, 30-Day Unlimited, and 1-Day Fun Pass). With a Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard, you buy the number of rides you want, and you get a free ride every time you buy 10 rides at once.
You can transfer for free from subway to bus, bus to subway, and from one bus line to another, but you must use this transfer opportunity within two hours of the first swipe. When you consider how far and wide you can travel on the MTA subway system, it's a great bargain no matter how you slice it.
Metrocards are available in subway stations from the token clerk or the vending machines now installed in hundreds of stations, and at hundreds of participating MetroCard vendors in all five boroughs, Westchester, Long Island, and New Jersey (there's a list on the MTA's website).
The MTA is responsible for the New York subways, and a great, interactive subway map for all five boroughs can be found on its site, or you can call Customer Assistance: 718.330.3322, 9am-5pm, weekdays and request a map through the mail. Subway maps are also available at most tourist locations, including hotel lobbies. For general subway information call 718.330.1234, 24 hours a day.
The MTA also offers a Trip Planner http://travel.mtanyct.info target=0>online.
The subway serves millions of customers per day. The 25 subway routes are interconnected, and many lines feature express trains, across-the-platform transfers to local trains and "skip-stop" express service. Numbered routes include the 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 and 9, the lettered routes are A B C D E F G J L M N Q R S and Z. There are three S shuttle services, including the Franklin Avenue, Rockaway Park and 42nd Street routes.
In Manhattan, you can travel north and south on the east side via the 4/5 (both express trains), and 6 (local) trains; north and south on the west side via the 1 (local), 2/3 (both express) trains. You can get across town (east-to-west and vice versa) on 50th St via the E train, on 42nd St via the S (shuttle) train, and on 14th St via the L train.
Subway trains run about every 1.5 to ten minutes during rush hours (6:30am-9:30am and 3:30pm-8pm, weekdays), every 10 to 15 minutes during non-rush hours, and every 20 minutes during late night hours.