Tuesday, March 21, 2023

How Does The New York Subway Work

Midtown Manhattan Night Tour

How the NYC Subway Works

From March through October, we offer this evening tour 3x a week. You will ride the NYC subway 2x during this tour.

Another bonus is that this tour begins at Grand Central Terminal, which is within walking distance to most Midtown Manhattan hotels.

If you arrange an early arrival with your tour guide, he or she can help you sort out purchasing a MetroCard .

Learn more about this tour or go straight to our booking page.

Find The Correct Station

The station names make it relatively easy to locate them.

ALERT – if you are planning on meeting your friend at the subway stop on Canal Street though, think again, because there are 5 possible meeting spots, as there are different subway lines with a stop named Canal Street.

Also, many stations tend to have a front and back entrance/exit.

The First Subway Line In New York City

The very first line that was completed in 1904 was a 9.1 mile stretch of track that ran from City hall, under Lafayette Street, up to Park Ave & 42nd Street. It terminated at 154th Street Station in Harlem. The very first day it opened on October 27, 1904, 150,000 New Yorkers put on their Sunday best, paid the 5-cent fee and rode the subway line.

Today, lines 1, 2, and 3 run on this track and were all started in 1904.

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How To Use The Nyc Subway

OK, so youre a master of the OMNY system or just bought a shiny new MetroCard. Now what?

With OMNY just tap and go. Make sure youre activating your e-wallet. You may need to press your thumb or type in a security key on your phone.

For the MetroCard, you have to swipe your way in, which sounds simple but can sometimes be tricky. The card readers installed in the turnstiles are finicky. You have to treat them just the right way for them to let you in. If you swipe too fast, try again. If you swipe to slow, try again. If you bend the card as you swipe, youre wasting your time .

So here is all you need to know to be able to swipe in like a local:

Figuring Out Local Versus Express Subway Lines

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Before we tell you which one to use, here is how you can figure out if you even have the choice:

Many subway stations just have one track for each direction . You can call these stations Local, in the sense that only trains making every stop will stop at that station.

So if you get down to the platform and you only have a wall on one side and one track on the other, you dont have to worry about Local v. Express, because Local is your only option at that station .

On the other hand, if you enter a bigger station and get down to the platform level, you might see two tracks one on your left and one on your right. That means you now have a choice between an Express train and a Local train.

But how will I know which one is which?

Dont worry, each train platform is marked clearly with black banners hanging above your head. Unfortunately, there arent that many banners per station, so if you dont see one in front of you immediately, just walk in either direction for a bit until you see one. They are usually positioned close to the stairs.

Here is what an Express sign might look like:

This sign tells you two important things:

  • The A train on this track is heading into Downtown Manhattan along 8th Avenue, then going into Brooklyn.
  • It is also running on the Express track.
  • Here is an example of a Local sign:

    Here, you can see that this train is also going Downtown via 8th Avenue, but that it is running on the Local track.

    So which one should you use?

    But thats not all:

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    Five Are You Traveling At The Right Time And Day For Your Particular Route

    Beware, some trains only run at certain times. While the NYC subway system runs 24 hours, generally the Express trains stop running around 10:30pm. All the local trains will still keep running. Their routes, however, may change.

    This is an example of a train line that changes at night. This is indicating that at night, the 4 train stops on the platform.

    Other trains dont run on weekends at all, like the B. Sorry B! Its the weekend, time to sleep.

    If you are taking a regular route, familiarize yourself with how the schedule changes. Some routes have a rush hour express that go back to local.

    The 5 and 6 trains, for example, have a rush hour express running in the peak direction. You can see the lines that jump over several stops, running parallel to their normal stops.

    If you are not sure which trains are running in that moment, ask a local or try to use an app like Google Maps or Citymapper to find an up-to-date route for that time and day.

    Four Are You Standing On The Correct Platform For Your Train

    If youre entering at a larger station, there will be multiple platforms, each for different train lines. Dont just enter the station and assume the platform youre standing on is the correct one.

    The signage in the subway is generally confusing. Here are the signs at Atlantic-Barclays Center in Brooklyn:

    If you are as easily confused as I am, sometimes it takes a little trial and error to find the entrance for your platform.

    Once you arrive at your platform, the best way to check that you are in fact standing in the right place is to look at the sign that is parallel with the train.

    Note that the sign is parallel with the train. There are also signs that are perpendicular to the platform, which are telling you where the exit is.

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    The Money Makes It Bearable

    While some MTA workers grew up riding the rails, watching older relatives run the trains or just envisioning themselves in the conductors car, most chose the job for the same reason most of us are employed: cash.

    And as with any job, workers have strategies on how to make bank. Believe it or not, trains actually run on a timetable, so you have an odd work schedule, Scarda said. You can have a report time of 5:12pm and you go back and forth twice for two long trips and youll then get a 15-40-minute lunch break, do the run again and your shift will end at 1:02am. If its any later, you get overtime.

    For bagging the most overtime, Lloyd recommends the 2 line, which is a longer route than most. Plus, the switches are poorly laid out, which backs everything up, he said. The F and the A are also known for being high-rollers.

    Every MTA worker has their own favorite line, and theyre not always motivated by money. Scarda felt depressed not seeing sunlight on the R train, though Lloyd prefers a mostly underground train in case of bad weather. Operating trains used to be a promotion from working as a conductor or bus driver, but now you can be hired directly as a train operator.

    Transportation In New York City

    Why Don’t New York City Subways Have Platform Barriers?
    Transportation in New York City
    A 2009 map of the extensive rail system in New York City
    New York City metropolitan area
    Transit type
    MTA, NJ Transit, PATH, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and private operators

    The transportation system of New York City is a network of complex infrastructural systems. New York City, being the most populous city in the United States, has a transportation system which includes one of the largest subway systems in the world the world’s first mechanically ventilated vehicular tunnel and an aerial tramway. New York City is also home to an extensive bus system in each of the five boroughs citywide and Staten Island ferry systems and numerous yellow taxis and boro taxis throughout the city. Private cars are less used compared to other cities in the rest of the United States.

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    Riding The New York City Subway : Some Rules To Remember

    To identify the subway lines, we do not use the terminus station but the running direction .

    Uptown is indicated for lines going towards Upper Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens. Downtown is indicated for lines going towards Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.

    The subway station you are entering doesnt necessarily serve both directions.

    Sometimes, you find a station for one direction and the other station across the street for the other direction . There are also stations that serve both directions. In any case, this information is mentioned at the entrance of subway stations.

    Several subway lines run on the same platform.

    This is the most common mistake! Remember to look at the subway number or letter when entering the platform to make sure that you get in the right one! Otherwise, you may run in the wrong way.

    Subways do not necessarily stop at all the stations they are supposed to serve.

    I know, its getting a little bit complicated! Each line is served by two types of trains :

    • The local train which stops at all stations of the subway line.
    • The express train which only stops at the main stations of the subway line.

    In general, there are more local trains than express trains, but dont forget to pay attention to this detail! Express train is therefore faster than local train but you have to be sure itll stop at the station you want to go to.

    To identify express trains and local trains :

    During weekends, many subway lines are modified.

    New York City Subway Opens

    At 2:35 on the afternoon of October 27, 1904, New York City Mayor George McClellan takes the controls on the inaugural run of the citys innovative new rapid transit system: the subway.

    While London boasts the worlds oldest underground train network and Boston built the first subway in the United States in 1897, the New York City subway soon became the largest American system. The first line, operated by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company , traveled 9.1 miles through 28 stations. Running from City Hall in lower Manhattan to Grand Central Terminal in midtown, and then heading west along 42nd Street to Times Square, the line finished by zipping north, all the way to 145th Street and Broadway in Harlem. On opening day, Mayor McClellan so enjoyed his stint as engineer that he stayed at the controls all the way from City Hall to 103rd Street.

    At 7 p.m. that evening, the subway opened to the general public, and more than 100,000 people paid a nickel each to take their first ride under Manhattan. IRT service expanded to the Bronx in 1905, to Brooklyn in 1908 and to Queens in 1915. Since 1968, the subway has been controlled by the Metropolitan Transport Authority . The system now has 26 lines and 472 stations in operation the longest line, the 8th Avenue A Express train, stretches more than 32 miles, from the northern tip of Manhattan to the far southeast corner of Queens.

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    Nyc Subway Fare Options

    • First, if you only plan to ride the subway once one way and you are not going to use the OMNY payment, you can go to any vending machine and purchase a single-ride card for $3. After swiping it through the turnstile, you can toss it, since these paper cards are for one-time use only.
    • Second, if you plan to use the subway at least a couple of times and youre not going to use the OMNY payment method, then buy a Regular MetroCard . The minimum amount to put on a new card is $5.50
    • Third, if you plan to use the subway several times a day and are visiting for 4 days or longer, then buy a 7-day Unlimited MetroCard. This card allows you to use the subway as many times a day as you please, without incurring any additional charges. The fixed cost of this weekly card is only $33 .

    Each ride with a Regular MetroCard is $2.75

    So the break-even number or rides, is 12. In other words, if you plan to ride the subway more than 12 times during your visit , then youre better off just buying the 1-week unlimited for $33 . Otherwise, just use the OMNY payment system, or get a regular, and if you run out of money, simply refill the card.

    Before you decide on Regular vs. Unlimited, keep this in mind:

    You can swipe a regular card up to 4 times at any given time, while an unlimited card cannot be used more than once in an 18 minute period.

    Nyc Subway Fares: How They Work

    Effective Instructional Images: Web Activity 1: D.C. Metro map, NY ...

    When the New York City subway first began operating in 1904, a single ride cost 5 cents, and riders used a paper ticket to enter the system. Now, 115 years later, the fare has increased by 5,400 percent, and MetroCardswhich were introduced in the 1990sare soon to be phased out.

    Last year, the MTA also rolled out OMNYaka One Metro New Yorkits new tap-to-pay fare collection system, which allows riders to use a contactless credit or debit card, or an app, to enter the subway. Its expected to be in use at more than 150 stations by the end of January, and is currently available at some major hubs like Penn Station and Union Square.

    At its simplest, the base fare for entering the subway is $2.75. But there are many ways that fares can be collected heres a brief overview:

    Pay-per-ride MetroCard: Self-explanatory you fill a MetroCard with a certain amount of money, and each time you swipe to get on the subway, $2.75 is deducted. You can add up to $80 at a time. If you buy a new MetroCard rather than refilling an old one, youll be charged $1 for the new card.

    Unlimited ride MetroCard: Pay a set amount$33 for a week, or $127 for a monthand you can ride the subway as often as you like. There is a 18-minute waiting period to swipe again once youve entered a subway station or boarded a bus. If you take the subway more than a couple of times per day, this is likely to be the more cost-effective route. The $1 new card fee also applies here.

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    New York City Now Has Subway Wifi How It Works

    Seasoned New York City straphangers are no doubt aware that earlier this year the Metropolitan Transportation Authority finished rolling out subway station WiFi access citywide.

    A WiFi antenna at the 6th Avenue

    Its something that New Yorkers have been waiting for with baited breath ever since the invention of the cell phone. After all, the ability to surf the web and make phone calls from deep in the bowels of the train station isnt just another opportunity to connect with family and friends while suffering from one of New Yorks frigid winters or suffocating summers — its also a welcome distraction from that creepy guy trying to make consistent eye contact with you.

    The New York City subway WiFi doesnt reach travelers on trains between stations just yet, but there are plans in the works as part of a 27-year, $300 million agreement between the MTA and Transit Wireless to eventually have full coverage with no interruptions as the trains speed on down the line.

    Sound incredible? It truly is. As any New Yorker will tell you, no matter how convenient, the subway is something people tolerate and anything the city can do to make that crowded ride a bit more comfortable is more than welcome.

    But as with any nice thing, New York City subway WiFi requires a few instructions. Read on for the full rundown on how to navigate the web while navigating the Big Apple.

    42nd Street and Bryant Park platform in Manhattan

    Getting Around New York City: Guide To Public Transportation

    Everything you need to know to get around New York City

    Wikipedia Commons

    The easiest, most affordable way to get around New York City is by public transportation. New York City mass transit generally falls into two categories: buses and subways. The city has 36 subway lines and 5,725 buses that can take you anywhere you want to go. Once you know how to use them, you’ll find them efficient, reliable, and easy. The only problem is you must learn the system.

    This guide will tell you everything you need to know about navigating your way around New York City’s public transportation. You’ll feel like a local in no time, maybe even venturing to far away places you never thought you would.

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    Graffiti And Danger Underground

    Graffiti artists began taking over New York City in the 1970s, and the subway was hit especially hard. Violence increased as well, and robberies and assaults on the subway were commonplace. By the 1980s, more than 250 felonies were committed on the subway each week. Fear caused a decline in ridership, especially among middle-class commuters who could afford another means of transportation. Unfortunately, fewer riders meant less money for the transportation system, money that could have hired more security staff or cleaned up some of the omnipresent graffiti. It would take a citywide effort to combat crime to improve subway conditions.

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