One of the best ways to travel around NYC is the subway. With lines connecting to both downtown and uptown, the NYC subway system is one of the finest in the world. Whether you want to experience the daily life of a New Yorker, or you want to save some cash, the subway is your way to go.

However, if this is your first time riding the subway in NYC, it can be a little bit intimidating. The subway system is big and, depending on the hour, it will be crowded and confusing. That’s why we are here to help answer frequently asked questions about the NYC subway system.


1) How safe is the NYC subway?  

Overall, the answer is very safe. It is supervised by cameras and police. In fact,  and the crime rate in the NYC subway keeps getting lower and lower every year. However, with over 400 stations that run 24/7, it’s always a good idea to stay aware of your surroundings.

Make sure you don’t have any easily accessible valuable items (phones, wallets, jewelry). Pickpocketing is the easiest way to lose your personal possessions in the subway.  Avoid getting involved in arguments or crowds that are getting riled up. As always, if you see something suspicious, report it to an officer.

If you are traveling late at night or during off-peak hours, avoid traveling in empty cars. You can also look for the car with the conductor (you will be able to see them through a small window).


2) How much is the subway fare rate?  

A single subway fare is $2.75. Depending on how much you plan on using the subway, there are different options for you. The easiest is to buy a MetroCard. You can buy it at any station, either through a vending machine or with a Metropolitan Transit Authority employee. Keep in mind that, while all vending machines accept credit cards, not all of them take cash. And they only give change in coins. So, if you are only carrying cash with you, you will have to purchase your card at an MTA booth.

There are different cards you can purchase:

  • $2.75 card with at least two rides’ worth
  • $3 for a Single Ride MetroCard (paper cards)
  • $6 for a Regular card if you plan to ride the subway 12 times approximately
  • 7-day “Unlimited” MetroCard for $33


3) How to properly use the subway

To enter the platform,  you will need to swipe your way in. These card readers could get a little tricky if you are not familiar with them. Be mindful of others if you are traveling during rush hour. If your card isn’t working, let others go by.

But worry not, most problems are solved by swiping your MetroCard properly. Hold the MetroCard on your right hand (since the turnstile is always on the right) with the word “MetroCard” facing you. Swipe in a forward motion and at a regular speed. Most of the times, when readers miss your card, it’s because you swiped too fast or too slow.

If you are in a big station, you might choose your address after swiping and entering your platform. On smaller stations, you need to find your platform first. Please remember downtown means places on the South of Manhattan and uptown are places on the North of Manhattan.

You can either use a local track or an express track. Local trains will make every stop along the way, while the express one will skip some. So if you don’t know where you are headed and you want to make sure you don’t miss your stop, a local train is your best option.


4) How do I know which line to take?

Every route is identified by letters or numbers such as , or numbers . And on top of that every station will have a line map you can check constantly. You can also visit the MTA website, where the map is updated in case of damages or emergencies. They also have a mobile app you can download for a better user experience.

Google maps offers great accuracy on different travel routes and can give you a time estimate that you might want to take into consideration.


5) Anything else?

Have fun! The subway system runs all over NYC. Don’t be afraid to take a new line and explore. The subway is also filled with art, music, and from time to time you might see something extraordinary. Safe travels!


Staying in New York City – About The Lombardy Hotel

The Lombardy hotel is ideally located in the middle of Manhattan. Close to many subway entrances, you will be minutes away from most attractions. We also offer spectacular rooms, a steakhouse restaurant, and a spa to pamper you after your NYC exploration. Whether you are visiting NYC on business or pleasure, we look forward to hosting you.

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