New York subway: prices, map, applications and tips, the complete guide!

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Elia Tabuenca García
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The latter will allow you to explore the entire city in one limited time and budget. And then, if you want to travel like a local, this is the right plan.

So I have prepared a complete guide of the subway in New York, ranging from its little history to its prices and timetables, through little anecdotes and a guide to good driving. Ready to embark?

The history of the New York subway

While the idea of ​​an underground train in Manhattan was put forward by Alfred Ely Beachen in the 19th century, the New York subway was born later, due to the consolidation of the various districts of the city, from the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge. and therefore more intense traffic.

Thus, the underground metro opened its doors at the very beginning of the Xth century and has been very successful since. The record day with the most passengers was in 2005, with a total of 7,5 million travelers!

Today it has more than 1,75 billion passengers per year (2014), and its busiest station is… of course, Times Square!

Useful information

New York subway lines and map

The New York subway includes 25 lines designated by letters and numbers, and serves all New York boroughs except Staten Island. It therefore has many more lines than the Parisian or London metro that you may be used to!

In addition, be aware that a single dock often combines several ways. So don't get on the first metro that arrives, and check beforehand!

Also, if you are moving into Manhattan, you should take the fold quickly. In fact, given that the metro runs north-south, it is easy to remember that you just have to take the direction Uptown to go north, and that of Downtown to go south.

However, be careful: this is not the case in other parts of the city, where the lines have different trajectories. Take a look at the New York subway map (which you can download in a high definition version by clicking here), which should help you situate yourself a little better.

The latter is also available free of charge in paper format in all stations, where touch screens containing interactive maps are also located. Don't forget to take one so you can find your way around at any time.

"Local" and "express" trains

Finally, note that there are different types of trains: the " local trains "Stopping at each station, and" express trains »Only stopping in the biggest stations, as is sometimes the case with the Parisian RER.

If it is an express, check that it will stop at your station. So look on your map: the two trains stop at white dots, and only "local trains" stop at black dots.

The New York metro card: the MetroCard, prices and options

Formerly accessible using tokens, the New York metro requires the purchase of a metro pass since 1994: the Metrocard. This is a magnetic card offering you two options: the « pay per ride » and « unlimited ride».

The first is a prepaid sum giving you a number of trips accordingly, while the second allows you to use the bus and metro as many times as you want. Note that a single trip costs $ 2,75.

Also, new york subway map is available in several versions, depending on the length of time you want to use it. You will thus be able to pay $ 7,50 for a day, $ 31 per week, or $ 116.50 for a month.

Finally, the latter can be purchased at any station in the network and will also give you access to bus from the city.

So study your different options, and keep in mind that you may not always take the metro. Sometimes you will want to walk from point to point to take a walk for example.

Note that when you buy your card via a machine in a station, it will ask you for a postal code. So enter "10001" or "99999" and go to the next step! Also, you will have to pay a $ 1 fee when purchasing your new MetroCard.

New York subway timetables

In New York, you won't have to worry about catching the last subway before closing, or making sure it's open when you are very early in the morning: the New York subway is running. 24h / 24 and every day.

Rush hours are a little longer than for the Paris metro for example, and last from 6h30 to 9h30And then 15h30 to 20h during the week.

Also, the waiting time is generally between 2 and 5 minutes during peak hours, 10 to 15 minutes the rest of the day, and 20 minutes at night.

That said, not all lines will run and not all stations will be served between midnight and 6am: so check beforehand! Also, for security reasons, you might prefer to take a taxi overnight.

Access for people with reduced mobility

Finally, access for people with reduced mobility is unfortunately very limited, just like in the Paris metro. Indeed, there are only a few stations with suitable equipment. These are generally terminus et main stations from the city.

Find out beforehand to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Driving tips and guide

Useful mobile applications

There are a multitude of mobile applications offering to help you with public transport and especially the subway in New York. However, here are my three favorites, available both online andoffline. You will thus be able to use them without an internet connection.

Embark NYC Subway

Available on iOS, this application is useful for people who want to optimize their time. Indeed, it informs you in particular of the location and arrival time of your train. Thus, it will let you know if you have to run to get your train!

iTrans NYC Subway

Calculate thefastest route thanks to iTrans NYC Subway. This application will compare your different options while taking into account the waiting or walking times between two trains.

Available on iOS, it is ideal for saving a little transport time in order to save some for visits!

Exit New York Strategy

Interactive and comprehensive, this app is the perfect plan for lazy people. In addition to offering complete maps including all the stops on the network, it will tell you where to position yourself on the platform, depending on your destination, in order to be as close as possible to your next outing!

It is available in a full version on iOS, and a simplified version for Android. The latter only includes complete maps of Manhattan, and parts of the other boroughs.

Rules to follow in the New York subway

Finally, just like in almost any public transport in the world, the New York subway imposes a few rules of good living.

Thus, it is obviously not allowed to pass over a turnstile (MetroCard in pocket or not), nor to drinking alcohol inside the metro. However, this is valid in any public place in the United States, whether it is the street or a park.

In addition, you cannot board the metro with your bike, skateboard, rollerblades or other wheeled machine.

Then, do not have your feet ou bags on a seat: let someone benefit.

It is also forbidden to go from one car to another when the metro is stopped, and to have liquid in an open container with you, for the sake of cleanliness.

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Failure to comply with these rules could cause you some trouble, such as a fine of $ 100 or even a short stay in jail. Better to take advantage of your time there to explore the city, so be respectful!

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Finally, have some common sense and be courteous. Offer your place to the elderly, pregnant or with small children and do not block the doors.

10 things to know about the New York subway

To save you a few mishaps, here are 10 things to know about the New York subway.


New York Subway: Fun Facts

Have you understood the basics of the metro and are almost ready to move like a real New Yorker? So here are some fun anecdotes that will only complete your local coverage!

Some impressive numbers

The first line of the New York network measured less than 15 kilometers for 28 stations. It linked City Hall to Grand Central as well as Times Square and Broadway to Harlem.

Also, the network is at 60% underground, and its lowest station is 55 meters underground ! This is the 191st Street station. Conversely, its highest station is Smith Ninth Streets, located 26,8 meters in height.

Today, the New York subway counts 375 kilometers of lines operated and 468 stations. However, if we put all of its lines end to end (more than 1 kilometers), we could get to Chicago !

Aspirated tokens

When access to the metro was made using tokens, a few smart people had a trick. They stood near the turnstile and sucked in the tokens so that they could be reused. Hygienic, right?

In order to remedy this ridiculous scam, the counters deposited in particular the powder of chilli or nutmeg in the slot provided for the tokens. What offer a pleasant surprise to the little bandits, and to be able to spot them thanks to their sneezes!

Miss metro elections

Did you know that in the middle of the 20th century, Miss Subways elections ? Subway users aged 14 to 30 who wished could send their photos to an agent at New York Subways Advertising.

Then, the winner saw her face plastered on the wagons of the various trains in the network for a month.

An artistic metro

Also, the New York subway appears in many films and series, such as French Connection, Madagascar, Seinfield or even Wall Street: money never sleeps.

You've certainly seen him in Bad's music video as well. Michael Jackson, featuring the Hoyt-Schermerhorn station.

However, the first to stage it was Thomas Edison in 1904, just after its opening! It was then a silent black and white film.

Often decorated by different artists over the years, the New York subway gave birth to the Arts for Transit program in 1985, in order to install works of art Permanently.

In particular, this makes it possible to highlight many artists by making them known to the general public.

A real brand image

Finally, the New York subway is so famous that it has many derivative products bearing its effigy.

Thus, you can find plaques mentioning subway stops or other gadgets on the website of the New York Transit Museum store, and even T-shirts with maps of different lines in the city!

Ideal if you don't want to get lost… But in terms of fashion, I'm not sure!

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