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Navigating New York - Your Guide to Public Transport in the Big Apple blog image

Navigating New York - Your Guide to Public Transport in the Big Apple

May 06 2024

Getting around New York City might be daunting in theory, however in reality with the subway, buses, ferries, trams, and taxis the city is surprisingly easy to navigate. 

The Big Apple is home to one of the most extensive transportation systems in the world - however it’s also one of the most efficient, runs 24 hours, and is cheap and easy to use. 

With the help of contactless payments, a range of navigation apps, and WiFi access in all subway stations and carriages it’s never been easier to get around NYC. 

The Subway

A trip to New York wouldn’t be complete without a trip on the subway. The subway system in New York is one of the biggest subways in the world, with almost 500 stations across the network, covering almost 300 miles of routes. The subway is open 24/7 all year round and is the fastest way to get around New York’s five boroughs. 


  • There is no need to purchase a MetroCard - you can tap in and out with your contactless card, smartphone, or smartwatch. 
  • Stay away from the platform edge. 
  • Stand on the right on escalators - the left is for walking.

Train with view of Manhattan skyline in the background


Like the subway system, the New York City buses cover an extensive network and helps 1.5 billion people to travel in and around the city every single day. Buses can get you to just about anywhere in the five boroughs, are cheap to use, and are an alternative to the subway that allows you to see more of the city.

Commuter Trains

Commuter trains are essential to people commuting into the city from the suburbs and surrounding areas.  The three main railroads are the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, and New Jersey Transit. Most commuter trains depart from major stations in the city, including Penn Station and Grand Central Station. Tickets for commuter trains can be purchased inside stations on the network or through apps on your phone. 

New York City bus crosses intersection just after dusk


While one of the slowest forms of transport in the city, the ferries in New York are by far the most beautiful way to get around. Offering the “scenic route” and unbeatable views of the city skyline, the rivers, and New York’s most famous landmarks - don’t miss out on a New York Ferry! 

The ferries are a popular way to see the city from the water, without having to pay expensive cruise fees. One of the most popular ferries - the Staten Island Ferry - is completely free to use and allows you to get up close and personal with Lady Liberty.

Taxis and Ride-Sharing

New York wouldn’t be New York without the iconic Yellow Cabs. Cabs are hailed from the street, or you can book them through apps like Curb. Traffic is a problem in New York and cabs are the slowest as well as the most expensive way to navigate the city. Ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft also work in New York - but have the same problems as Yellow Cabs. 

People walking on a busy Manhattan sidewalk at sunset.


The number of cyclists in New York increases every year and the number of dedicated bike lanes follows suit. You can get to almost any corner of New York with just a bike, a helmet, and a good sense of direction. If you’re visiting the city, or don’t have your own bicycle, you can pick up Citi Bikes from docking stations located all over the city.


New Yorkers walk three times more than your average American and the city is one of the most walkable in the world. Each neighborhood has its own charm that is best explored on foot - particularly Greenwich Village, SoHo, and the Lower East Side. Before visiting New York invest in some good walking shoes and break them in before you travel - even if you don’t intend to, you’ll walk more than you expect on your trip to New York. 

Visiting New York this summer? The Hotel Beacon is centrally located on the Upper West Side, just steps from some of the city’s most popular landmarks and attractions.