NYC Subway Travel Guide From a Local

NYC Subway Travel Guide From a Local

I’m Jen with The Travel Woman and today
I will be your guide sharing my 25 crucial things you need to know about
the New York City subway and the number one mistake both visitors and locals
alike make and how to save money avoiding it. Before you watch this
awesome helpful video don’t forget to click the subscribe and bell button so
you don’t miss a video. First of all I want to say the subway is not called
the train, the metro, the underground; it’s just the subway even when it’s above
ground it’s called the subway. The subway is one of the fastest ways to get around
New York City, but it can be very confusing. Both visitors and locals get
lost or accidentally get on the wrong train at some point in time. As a local
who grew up just outside the city and has now lived in Manhattan and Brooklyn
for the past five years I still get on the wrong train sometimes so just know
you are not alone. I will also go over taking a subway with luggage which can
be tricky since many subway stations do not have elevators or escalators you
might have to carry luggage up or down stairs and use my trick to get luggage
properly through the turnstile. Okay getting back on track here are the 25
things you need to know about the NYC subway. #1 Subways go by letters and numbers but not colors, colors just show related trains that run
along some of the same tracks. In Boston for example they say the Green Line but
if you said where’s the Green Line to a New Yorker you would get a funny look
before you clarified the four, five or six train. #2 There are no zones
just one swipe and you can hop on the subway anywhere it doesn’t matter how
far or how long you ride the subway the fare is the same. A one-minute ride just
one stop costs the same as a two-hour ride. #3 there are 472 subway
stations so there are some repeat subway station names for example there are 4
stations named 96 Street so be specific if you ask
how to get to 96 Street Station clarify which one: is it off the 1 2 3 or
B C or 6 or Q lines #4 The original New York City subway was a system of elevated trains until the Great Blizzard of 1888 showed the need
for an underground system today 60% of the subway system is underground with
many trains outside of Manhattan going above ground but no matter where it is
still called the subway. #5 Cabs are not always
faster look up directions in apps like Google Maps because often times during
rush hour taking the subway is faster than driving #6 Most subway trains go uptown or downtown in Manhattan but many do not go
across to go cross-town in Manhattan there are limited 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 get across Central Park from
the Upper East Side to the Upper West Side so you will need to take a bus, cab
or car #7 one of the biggest mistakes that visitors and locals alike make is getting on the wrong train or going through the wrong entrance going
downtown instead of uptown for example so make sure you pay attention to the
signs, when you see this that says downtown only you cannot go down here and change to the Uptown direction. You have to walk
across the street to find the Uptown entrance so
please please please don’t make that mistake even locals make the mistake
because we get to confidence we’re like okay this is the subway entrance we walk
in we swipe but if you swipe into the wrong entrance you’re gonna have to go
back up again and reswipe and repay and no one wants to repay so make sure
you pay attention ahead of time make sure you’re going in the right direction
and another really helpful tip is that some platforms have both Local and
Express trains on the same track so make sure that you’re paying attention if a 2
train comes by and you’re waiting for a 1 train check which train that you’re
getting on to make sure it’s the right train #8 Maps: since you might
not have service below ground my best advice to visitors and locals is to know
where you are going before you get into the subway stop screenshot the
directions in your phone so you can show someone if you get lost and download a
subway map PDF or image on your phone that you can zoom into. There are also
maps in the entrance of each subway station and posted in subway trains for
reference #9 Check signs if a station is unusually empty and there are
signs for construction you might have to take a cab or bus depending on the
situation so pay attention to signs before swiping this is usually an issue
on the weekends #10 Escalators: stand on the right pass on
left the right is right, left is wrong that’s how I remember it if you have
luggage hold it on the step in front of you or on the step behind you but leave
space on the left for New Yorkers who are known for being in a rush so they
can keep moving and when you get off the escalator keep walking if you need to
stop and look at a map avoid standing in the way of foot traffic stand to the
side #11 Children under 44 inches
or 112 centimetres no matter what age do not need a
MetroCard and can walk under the turnstile to ride the train for free if
they are with a fare paying adult #12 Now let’s talk about which MetroCard
you should buy. Do not get a single-use MetroCard it is not cost effective there
are two main types of Metro cards: Unlimited ride cards where you add time
and the Regular MetroCards also known as pay-per-ride cards where you add value. First try to count how many times you will need to take the subway to and from
different places. if you plan on swiping your card 12 times or to and from six
different locations then get a 7-day unlimited ride MetroCard to save money. If you are visiting for a full month there is also an unlimited monthly pass.
If you are only visiting for a few days or a weekend and you will not need as
many as 12 swipes you can add value to a pay-per ride card based on how many swipes
you think you might need, the more you add the more you save you can also
always add more value or money to the card if you need more swipes later if
you want to share a metro card with family or friends a pay per ride Metro
card can be shared with up to four people but an unlimited pass cannot be
shared since you must wait 18 minutes between swipes for exact costs I will
rate the current prices in the description box below. #13 Subway
cards cost one dollar this is new. They used to be free but now you pay for them
in addition to each swipe so do not lose it. #14 you can pay for your MetroCard with credit card, ATM card or
cash unless it says something like no bills accepted. #15 there are
two types of turnstiles if you have luggage and you have the choice find the
full height larger turnstiles or try putting your luggage near the exit door
swiping in and then opening the door or if you only see waist-high turnstiles
lower your luggage handle roll it in front of you with your hands still on it
just a few steps away from the metal so the metal turnstile doesn’t hit your
luggage thus preventing your luggage from getting stuck in the turnstile like
this guy. #16 Swipe slowly you can tell who
is a visitor by how many times they swipe their card. This is how not to
swipe your card. This is how to swipe your card you swipe with the yellow
front facing you, black stripe down and swipe slowly it might take a few tries
to get used to it but keep trying. #17 While waiting to board a train
please do not block subway doors by standing right in front of the doors
with nowhere for others to exit the train stand on the side of the door to
let people off the train before getting on. #18 Do not get on an empty
train car if the cars next to it are full there is usually a reason it is
empty like a bad smell or broken air-conditioning. #19 Be careful
not to hit others with your backpack take it off on the crowded train #20 Don’t play music loudly on the train always remember to bring your headphones #21 if you’re sitting down stand up for the elderly or pregnant or if
someone looks like they need a seat. #22 Do not lean on the pole it’s
rude and prevents others from holding onto the pole. #23 Don’t put your feet on the seat it’s technically a crime for which
you can be arrested and please don’t man spread you know when one person manages to take up two to three seats #24 you have a free transfer within two
hours of a swipe which is helpful in case you need to go above ground to
transfer to another subway or bus #25 Subway exits: There are often multiple subway exits to save time pay attention
to which exit is closest to your destination if you’re going to 20th
Street and you get off at the 23rd Street Station exit toward 22nd instead
of 23rd Street save time walking a block. I’m Jen with
The Travel Women thank you so much for taking this ride with me through the top
25 things you need to know about the New York City subway while you’re here don’t
forget to check out my other helpful New York City videos and click the subscribe
and bell button so you don’t miss any future videos as always say yes to new
adventures and I’ll see you next time Bye!

100 thoughts on “NYC Subway Travel Guide From a Local”

  • Great info Jennifer. Im currently visiting Manhattan for the first time and ran into an issue I was unsure of; I was on 42nd and wanted to go to The Met – 59th. The announcement simply said "Uptown". How do I know where the uptown subway will stop? Needless to say, I enjoyed the walk through the park. Thanks for the info.

  • New York City Daily says:

    I have lived in the city for four years but I have been on the wrong train a couple of times. Thank you for making me feel better. I get out on the next stop as if it is my

  • This makes me MISS New York SO BAD!!!!!!! New York is one of the greatest cities in the world, in my opinion…. The feeling is just magical….

  • Im from Chicago and rode trains all my life. First time in Newyork and I was amazed at the train. I wished ours went to every neighborhood like NY.

  • If I have 3 people in my family. Can I buy 1 metro card with $20 and then the 3 of us can use it immediately 3 times

  • Comparing the Western Hemisphere's two busiest metro (subway) systems, NYC and CDMX, is eye-opening. With virtually the same amount of traffic, the Mexico City system requires virtually no thought: it's simple, clean, efficient and CHEAP. You can go anywhere in metro CDMX for 6 pesos (depending on exchange rate at the time, that's about 30 cents). You almost CAN'T make a mistake and get on the wrong train. We're Angelinos going to NYC in August for what amounts to the first time for both of us . . . and I'm intimidated by the subway. After having been on those in Chicago, CDMX, Buenos Aires and Santiago, it looks like pretty much of a nightmare to me. We'll buy the 7-day unlimited passes, that's for sure! Nice video, though. A little too fast at the ticket machine for me!

  • Make sure you go to the bathroom before you get on the train. There are no restrooms in the stations. Theres nothing worse than riding from Yankee stadium back to Brooklyn after having a few beers. I once saw a guy explode from holding it too long.

  • 3:50 reminds when one time i was going home (north central park) from downtown and i saw β€œdowntown” on the subway entrance and was like yeah downtown, thats where i wanna go. and i felt like a complete bafoon

  • Leor Greenfield says:

    Yesterday on the subway there was a guy with a loudspeaker blasting music for tips I was right bye it so I had to move to a different car

  • i used an app called citymapper while in nyc. it actually saved me from going into the wrong subway entrances many times. if you go nyc. download that app, its a lifesaver

  • Thank you Jennifer . I should have seen this video before I went to New York ! Anyway I am sharing it with my friends who travel

  • There is a very good reason why Men "Man spread". We have these things called balls? Ya it's wrong for a man to feel comfortable but it's ok for a Woman to take up a seat with her purse? Cool

  • foxandnews bad women says:

    OK I know they have the metrocard, but is there any app for the train that you can have a barcode scan?. Wouldn't that be easier than swiping your card every trip and also to reload?. I'm asking because I am gonna move up there soon and use apps on my phone for just about everything. And I would think a city like new york would have a scan app. Thx

  • British-Aussie Lover says:

    Interesting that New York still uses magnetic strips. Here in the U.K. we use the same technology as contactless debit cards for train turnstiles, such as the Oyster card in London.

  • It is very beneficial video for me. Thank you. I have a question. Can I use new york metro card if I go Jersey city?

  • Peter Pacheco says:

    Hi just want to say great videos since i will be traveling to New York in a couple of weeks, and looking for what to watch out for, cheap things to do, etc. Keep up the good work.


  • You say you were born and raised here – why do you have that god awful California valley girl accent?
    I smell bullshit.

  • Don't need to repay if you take the wrong entrance. Just take the train and cross over when then you reach a station with a middle platform.

  • I love NYC… I was confused many times & took the wrong trains but that's how I learned no surprise I'm still confused…lol anyways, I'm living in Cali right now πŸ˜€

  • good video except there are a few rules that nobody really care about, like a kid thats under 5' can always hop the turn style as long as there with a adult nobody really cares about 44''.

  • Fellow Native New Yorker:
    1) Would've been nice to mention train -> bus transfers and how they work exactly.

    2) Google maps is great but there's an app called CityMapper that is THE BEST. I actually use it for CitiBike since it shows you all the bike stations and directions from one station to the next.

    3) The main way to take advantage of the subway's speed is to leverage Express trains!! Would've been a great topic to cover.

    4) Finally a pro tip in the summer months is to NOT wait for your train on the actual train platform if you don't want your bones to melt. Whenever possible, check how soon your train will arrive, wait in front of the turnstiles where you might take advantage of the wind coming from the street, and o ly go on the platform if your train is 1minute away. And get a bottle of cold water from the deli.

  • I left New York because I got sick and tired of riding the subway with blacks and Puerto Ricans. And I'm white.

  • battistuzzijohn says:

    Great video. I have 1 question. I know I can share a pay per ride card with 3 other family members. What happens when I have to buy the q70 bus obviously I have to swipe 4 times… will the free transfer work for all 4 or only one

  • You can NOT use the same credit/debit card to add value more than once in 24 hours. I was told by staff to avoid mid use of stolen or lost card

  • thank u. i hope i found this earlier.
    i was lived in Tarrytown for 3mnths for an english course,
    n always got confused when come to nycπŸ˜…

  • The Lady Borgia says:

    You did a pretty good job!😊 Props for all the etiquette!!!!! I was laughing at the one about 'Downtown Only' and 'Uptown Only' bc we've ALL done it in a hurry with our brain somewhere else. πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜‚

    The one that drives me nuts tho (not on your video) is when you go into a station that is both ways, swipe thru and then find out it's temporarily downtown or uptown only and the crossover is taped off, but NOBODY marked it bc it's a weekend so you not only lose your rides, but you have to huff back up the stairs and cross the street to get going in your correct direction (lol…of course this only happens when you have been on your feet all day and are exhausted, but don't want to sit in traffic in a cab or uber lol.) 😊 I have vlogged a bit around Manhattan, but never edited it. I will add it to my channel probably in the Fall or winter.

  • The Lady Borgia says:

    In fact, when I add NYC vlogs to and some of my tourists tips to my channel (mostly beauty/fantasy/SFX makeup, but my audience wants to see NYC) I'll try to remember to refer visitors to this video! That was a lot of work you did and the only thing I would add is the apps you can use (Lol, I have my little transport section on my phone 😊😁.)

  • Thompson on Tour 😎. says:

    Wow great video wish I was as good 😎😎.

  • If I'm seeing it right, it looks like the metrocard has a magnetic strip (instead of a chip), is that true? If so, I guess another advice would be to not put your metrocard into the same pocket as your phone or any other thing with a magnet (like some wallets), as the data on your metrocard would be erased and your card loses its validity. Or isn't that a common problem on the NYC subway?

  • ConservativeAtheist says:

    Due to the differences in our anatomy it’s difficult for men to sit with their legs together. Female hips are wide which turns their feet inward whereas male hips are narrow which turns our feet outward. Notice the difference in males & females as to which direction their toes are pointing when standing.

  • Good video overall. May I recommend probably adding some info on differentiating between local and express trains on a map as well the types of service offered such as full time or rush hour train?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *