NYC Transportation- Subway & Cab Tips

Once you get the rhythm, New York City is actually pretty easy to navigate through. 

Below you will find some information about the MTA Subway, how to get a metrocard, buses, & taxis.

Public Transportation  —


  • The MTA is the public transportation system of the city of New York, which includes all 5 burrows – Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island.  It has an extensive subway & bus schedule that runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Each line is coded with both a color and a number or letter.  Lines in the same color go in the same general direction.
  • Some trains are local trains which stop at every station along the route, others are express trains that only stop at the most popular destinations.  Check to make sure that the train your on stops at the place you want to go!
  • On your smart phone, you can use google maps to give you subway directions by clicking the little subway train car at the top.  Its generally reliable, but times are approximate.  If you do not have a smart phone, or are underground already, the mta maps are posted everywhere and are easy to use.  Despite our reputation, New Yorkers are generally eager to help you get somewhere.  Don’t be afraid to ask for directions!
  • There are weekend service changes ALL THE TIME.  Since you will be here on the weekend, check the MTA website for any delays so that you aren’t late and frustrated later.
  • Getting up and down town is easier than getting across town.  Sometimes the cross town buses can be faster, particularly up past 60th st.

Cabs in New York City:

  • Yellow cabs are the cheapest and most reliable cabs in Manhattan.
    • Cab code:  If the whole light on the top of the car is lit, then the cab is off duty and not available.  If just the inside numbers are lit up, then the cab is available and looking to take you somewhere.  If the whole top light is dark, then there is someone in the cab and you should stop waving your hands about like a lunatic because he’s not going to stop for you!
  • Green Cabs: If you are staying uptown past 125th st, in the heart of Brooklyn, Queens, or the Bronx, you might have trouble getting a yellow cab driver to go there, and you probably won’t find them in your neighborhood.  There are new cabs called “green cabs” that service these areas.  They can take you from the outer boroughs into Manhattan, but they cannot pick up passengers in the city.
    • You can also ask your host, or someone in a bar or on the street, for the number of a good reliable “gypsy cab”.  Because gypsy cabs don’t have meters, it’s good practice to negotiate the price of the ride before you get in the car.
  • You can get a cab to & from the airport, but it can be pricey.  Share a ride if you can.  It costs around $40 to get into the city from la Guardia, and about $65 from JFK.  A cab from Newark is…expensive!!