Getting Around: NYC Subway Info

New York City’s subway system, one of the oldest public transit systems, is also one of the most efficient ways to get around. Included here is some basic info about the recent subway fare increase, a new MetroCard calculator, getting around, plus some subway-related trivia.

Service times: Aside from weekend track work, service runs 24 hours. That said, service peaks during rush hour-when riders are commuting to work, weekdays, between 6:15am-9am, and going home, 4:30pm-7pm.

# Subway Lines: 24

#Stations (all lines combined): 468

Train color/codes: Click here for the MTA's train color codes

Fare Cost/New Calculator: Effective March 22, 2015, a one way fare increased to $2.75. It pays to buy at least one roundtrip fare, at $5.50, vs. a single fare, that is $3. A one week pass is $31; month pass, $116.50. *Note: If you do not already have a MetroCard, you will pay an extra $1 fee, so hold onto your card! To figure out your value added fare bonus, the MetroCard now has a calculator.

Reduced fare: $1.35 for persons over 65, or have a qualifying disability.

Length of time good for: Two hours, including one transfer, to another subway (same direction) or bus.

Payment Method: Cash, credit/debit card. With the decreased number of manned stations, all stations now have vending machines.

WiFi Stations: Many stations are now equipped with cell network access and free WiFi. Visit a list of WiFI enabled stations.

Handicap Accessible Stations: Click here for a list. 

Maps: Click here for MTA Subway maps. Google Maps is also very helpful with offering directions by bus/train routes, in addition to cars and walking.

Lost Property Unit: Check here for lost items. Unfortunately, with few manned stations, chances of getting a lost item back is slim.

Always check for service updates.

Apps: The MTA has its own Subway and Map planner, in addition to other apps to find out about where to find underground artwork, bus stops, where there are crosswalks, and much more. Check out the MTA App Gallery. 

New York Transit Museum: Located in Brooklyn, it’s the largest museum in the United States devoted to urban public transportation history. 

Photo: Willie Davis


Music Under New York: There are currently more than 350 soloists and groups participate in Music Under New York providing over 7,500 annual performances at 30 locations throughout the transit system. Classical violinists, Cajun cellists, jazz ensembles, bluesmen, Latin guitarists, opera and folk singers are just a few of the performers in the subway and train stations contributing to the music culture of New York City.

Poetry in Motion: Sometimes you’ll read an inspiring, brief passage on the subway, published via Poetry in Motion, which has been around since 1992.

No Pants Subway Ride: Dating back to 2002, the global event takes place every year in January, spearheaded by the group Improv Everywhere. Last year, New York had 4,000 participants.

Straphangers Campaign: In the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the term “straphanger” dates back to 1905. Definition: a standing passenger in a subway, streetcar, bus, or train who clings for support to one of the short straps or similar devices placed along the aisle. In remains a common term for those who ride the subway. The NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign was established in 1979 and remains active as a voice for airing concerns and grievances.

On Sept. 23, 2014, Reuters reported a record number of 6,106,694 trips on the NYC subway, the highest number since daily figures were first recorded in 1985.

The subway is a place for love, or lust, to blossom, some believe. Last year, The New York Post compiled a list of the 10 Sexiest Subway Stops.

New York City has many closed/abandoned train stations. Some are quite beautiful, such as the City Hall (pictured below) train station, which closed in 1945 and was declared an interior landmark in 1979.

Photo: John-Paul Palescandolo

About the Author

Linda Sheridan is the Managing Editor for City Guide. She is a lifelong New Yorker, has written for the New York Daily News, and loves travel, writing, music, and space.

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