Getting Around NYC — Everything You Need to Know

New York is a place which is constantly on the move. But the city that never sleeps is designed for travel. Whether you’re on four wheels, two wheels or two feet, moving around this thriving metropolis is easy — if you know what you’re doing.

Negotiating New York’s transport system for the first time can be daunting — so here are a few tips to help you on your way.

Biking and Walking in New York

Bike NYC getting around nyc

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Walking around New York City, and particularly Manhattan, is relatively easy. Most of the city’s sidewalks are wide, and they’re serviced by pedestrian crossings at every block. Navigation on foot is also a straightforward process, as the city is basically a network of straight streets and intersections. However, Manhattan Island alone is more than 13 miles long. Unless you’re a keen walker, you’ll probably need to use one of the city’s transport systems during your visit.

Major improvements to New York’s biking network has made cycling in the city more enjoyable and accessible than ever before. There are now dedicated cycling routes along both the Hudson and East Rivers, as well as in the city’s parks. In truth, most of the city can now be navigated by bike, but if you’re using public roads you’ll need to know what you’re doing — things can get very busy. Find out where you can bike safely in NYC by checking out the NYC Department of Transportation website.

Don’t worry if you haven’t brought your own bike on your trip to The Big Apple — they’re provided by the city for a modest rental fee. The Citi Bike scheme includes 10,000 bikes, available from more than 600 stations. You can pay the fee at the station and unlock a bike there and then. Rental options include a daily pass, a three-day pass and an annual fee.

Taxis and Ubers in New York

Woman looking for a taxi getting around nyc

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You’ll find two main types of taxicab in New York — green Boro Taxis and the classic yellow cabs that are such a huge part of the city’s history. Both are licensed by the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission, but make sure you check that the driver has a valid license displayed before setting off on your journey.

Hailing taxis in the street can be a little intimidating at first, but as long as you’re on the sidewalk and get into the cab from the curb, you won’t run into any difficulties. The taxis in New York are available 24 hours a day; those available for hire will have their rooftop ID numbers illuminated.

There is a minimum metered fare in operation throughout the city, which increases by around 50 cents after every fifth of a mile. You’ll also need to pay an MTA surcharge of around 50 cents and an improvement surcharge of around 30 cents. If you’re travelling during the evening, there is usually an additional charge. And whether you’re paying by cash or by card (all cabs now accept major credit and debit cards), it’s customary to leave a tip of between 15 and 20 percent.

You will also find a large network of Uber cars in New York. However, these private cars don’t have the freedom to stop anywhere in the way cabs do. Always make sure you order your Uber through the app, and choose a location where the driver can stop. You can save money by using Uber Pool — the car-sharing option for people travelling to the same destination.

MTA Subway and Buses

Times square subway station getting around nyc

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The city’s subway and bus networks are operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), and they’re just about the most reliable in the world. To move around the city on buses and subway trains, buy a MetroCard — you’ll need to load it with at least $5.50. There are automated MetroCard machines at subway and bus stations all over the city, and they accept all major credit and debit cards.

If you’re spending a few days in the city, buy a seven-day MetroCard for around $35. This gives you unlimited travel on buses and subway trains, and is easily the cheapest way to get around. However, if you’re visiting for just a day or two, it might make more sense to pay for pay-per-ride tickets.

Driving in New York

NYC Fifth Avenue and taxi cabs

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If you decide to travel by car in New York, you should know that it can be an intense experience. The traffic is heavy throughout the week, and the driving style is often described as aggressive. Use a navigation app such as Google Maps or Waze to ensure you don’t get lost. And to help you find precious parking spaces, use apps which also provide parking rates, such as SpotHero.

New York by Ferry

NYC Ferry getting around nyc


New York has a comprehensive network of ferries, which travel to both ends of Manhattan and everywhere in between. You can also catch a ferry to Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens and New Jersey. There are three main ferry services to choose from: the world famous Staten Island Ferry, the NYC Ferry and the NY Waterway.

While the Staten Island Ferry is great for sightseeing, it’s limited in terms of destinations. The NYC Ferry is the service that offers multiple stops in the city’s most populous districts. A ferry ticket costs roughly the same as a bus or subway ticket, but there are discounts available for children and senior citizens.

Getting around NYC safely is easy, but it’s always best to have a rough plan of action in place before you arrive. Plan every aspect of your next trip to New York in advance with the help of Gosur — and you’ll be able to relax once you’re there.

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