11 Things to Know Before Riding the New York Subway
To the outsider, the New York Subway can look like a pretty confusing place. If you’ve never been to New York and are basing your perceptions of the subway on films like ‘The Warriors’ or the graffiti-covered carriages depicted in ‘Coming to America,’ it can seem to be a positively terrifying place! Fortunately, the subway was renovated many years ago and is now a pleasant and convenient way to gettting around New York City.
Here, we are sharing 11 things that you need to know before riding a New York Subway.
Subways use letters and numbers rather than colors:
Colors simply depict related trains that share some of the same tracks. In Boston, for example, they say the green line, but if you asked a New Yorker where the green line is, you’d get a funny look before you clarified the 4, 5, or 6 train.
- There aren’t any zones: With a single swipe, you can travel anywhere on the subway. The fare is the same regardless of how far or how long you ride the subway. A one-minute ride with only one stop is the same price as a two-hour ride.
- Because there are 472 subway stations, some subway station names are repeated. For example, there are four stations called “96 Street,” so be specific when asking how to get to one of them. Is it on lines 1, 2, 3, B, C, 6, or Q?
- The original New York City subway was an elevated train system until the Great Blizzard of 1888 has shown the necessity for an underground system. Today, 60% of the subway system is underground, with several trains running above ground outside of Manhattan, but it is still referred to as the subway.
- Cabs are not always faster: Look up directions in apps like Google Maps because taking the subway is often faster than driving during rush hour.
- Most subway trains in Manhattan travel uptown or downtown, but many do not cross. Crosstown in Manhattan has few options, including the L train along 14th Street to Williamsburg or the 7 or S (which stands for shuttle along 42nd street). There is no way to cross Central Park from the Upper East to the Upper West sides without taking a bus, cab, or car.
One of the most common mistakes made by visitors and local New Yorkers is failing to pay attention to the direction indicated at the train entrance. Check the direction before walking down to a station. There may be separate entrances for uptown or downtown trains, so make sure you enter in the direction you want to go. If you swiped into a downtown-only entrance when you wanted to go uptown, you may have to leave and swipe or pay again to go uptown. Also, keep an eye out for express and local trains. Because express trains and local trains may share the same track, if a platform side is labeled for multiple trains, double-check what letter is on the outside of the subway that arrives before getting in.
- Maps: Since you might not have service below ground, my best advice to visitors and locals is to plan ahead of time (screenshot the directions on your mobile so you can show somebody if you get lost) and download a subway map PDF or photo on your phone that you can zoom into! There are also maps at each subway station’s entrance and on subway trains for reference.
- Check signs: If a station is empty and there are construction signs, you may need to take a cab or bus based on the situation, so read the signs before swiping. This is usually a problem on weekends.
- Escalators: Pass on the left and stand on the right. If you have luggage, place it on the step in front of you or the step behind you, but leave space on the left for New Yorkers who are notorious for being impatient, so they can keep moving. And, when you get off the escalator, keep walking; if you need to stop to look at a map, stand to the side rather than in the way of foot traffic.
Also Read: The Ultimate Guide To Things To Do in NYC!
- Do not block subway doors when waiting to board a train by standing directly in front of them, leaving no room for others to exit the train. Before getting on the train, stand on the side of the door and let people off.
Exploring New York City by riding its subway is an excellent way to experience the city’s vibrant energy and efficiently travel to different locations. It’s not just a convenient and budget-friendly mode of transportation, but it’s also an opportunity to visit some of the most famous and must-see places in NYC like dazzling lights and bustling streets of Times Square to the awe-inspiring Statue of Liberty.
NYC Subways are a great way to see the city and get from place to place quickly. They are convenient and relatively affordable, and they provide access to all of the city’s major attractions. However, they can be crowded, and it is important to be aware of potential safety concerns. With a bit of preparation and caution, riding the New York Subway can be an enjoyable experience that is an essential part of any visit to the Big Apple.