A free NYC Subway Map is available at most subway stations and also posted on the wall of every subway station, which are roughly nine blocks apart. The subway is the easiest and fastest way to get around Manhattan and generally very safe.
How to Use a MetroCard on the NYC Subway
To use the NYC subway, buy a MetroCard at a machine, available in almost every station. You can use credit or debit card at the automated machines, or cash at a ticket booth, to purchase an Unlimited Ride (good for a specific number of days) or Pay-per-Ride card.
Up to three children 44 inches tall and under ride for free on subways and local buses when accompanied by a fare paying adult.
Unlimited Use MetroCards cannot be used again at the same subway station or bus route for 18 minutes, so each traveler needs their own card. Unlimited cards are available for 7-Days ($32) and 30-Days ($121).
Pay Per Ride – Each subway ride deducts $2.75 and up to 4 people can use one Per Ride MetroCard. It allows subway-to-bus, bus-to-subway, or bus-to-bus transfer within 2 hours, but does not allow free subway to subway transfers (unless you transfer within the same station). Per Ride Cards purchased in amounts from $5 to $100, are awarded a 5% bonus for every $5.50 spent. Refill your card to use a balance less than $2.75.
Single Ticket – The cost of a SingleRide ticket is $3.00. Sold at automated vending machines only.
Using the NYC Subway Map
NYC Subway Map Directions
A popular site for getting NYC Subway Map Directions is Citymapper.com, which also has several free apps. Let’s walk through an example of subway directions from the Museum of Natural History to Times Square. For popular attractions, you don’t need to know addresses, just the names will do.
After entering your starting and destination locations, click “Get Directions.” As you can see below, this route uses the C Train for 4 subway stops and takes 21 minutes. On the Directions results page, you may click “Add Stop” and continue to navigate your city route.
Using the Subway
Visit the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and their special section meant for visitors. MTA is the government organization that runs all of New York City’s Public Transportation. They have all the information you need to know about Metrocards (the card you need to pay and use the subway). There is a New York City Street Map and subway map posted on the wall of almost every subway station, so you can always check on your way in or out. If there is someone at the ticket booth, they also have a free foldable map for you to carry.
Is the Subway Safe?
Since 2005, New York City has had the lowest crime rate of the 25 largest US cities (check more interesting facts about New York City). In the main parts of Manhattan, the subway is almost always safe. I use it 24/7 and never have any issues, but if you want to play it really safe, I recommended not using it between about midnight and 5:00am.
If you are not familar with urban cities, here are a few tips. During daylight, the subway rarely has safety issues. At night, if staying in a remote area, it might be best to avoid the subway. Stations such as Union Square or Times Square are pretty much safe all the time and have the most frequent trains. Always keep your purse and bags closed (locked if possible) and close to you.
Now that we’ve covered the NYC Subway Map, let’s move on to Arriving in New York City.
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