1. Travel
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

9 Tips for Riding the New York City Subway

Ride the New York City Subway like an expert with these tips

By

The subway is a fast, affordable way to get around New York City. Read these tips for riding the New York City Subway and you'll be traveling around like a local New Yorker in no time.

1. Finding Subway Entrances

New York City subway station sign Subway
Mitchell Funk/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images
Entrances are typically located on street corners with a staircase for descending into the station. If a station is marked with a large green ball, you can buy a MetroCard inside; if a station is marked with a red ball, you need to already have a MetroCard to enter.

2. How Free Transfers Work

A MetroCard allows one free transfer within 2 hours of first swiping your card. You can transfer from Bus to Subway, Subway to Bus, Bus to Bus, or between select Subway stations. (Free Subway to Subway transfers only apply when you are required to exit the station to make your connection.) If you take the subway one way and the bus back you can get two rides for one fare, but you can't transfer between buses going in opposite directions (i.e Madison and Fifth Avenue buses).

3. Maps in Subway Stations

One of the most helpful things about New York City's subway stations is the maps located near the entrances. In addition to having a map of the subway system, there is normally a neighborhood map that shows the streets in the area in detail. It's a good idea to check out the map before you leave the subway, but it's also great to know that if you're lost near a subway station, you can always duck in and check out a map to find your way around.

4. Check The Sign Before You Swipe

At many Subway stations, there are separate entrances for trains running uptown and downtown. Once you swipe your card, you can't get a refund, so be sure to check the sign to make sure you're swiping your card at the right entrance. You can also ask an attendant for help if you're confused about where to enter.

5. Hold On

If you don't get a seat, make sure you find a pole to hold when the train begins to move -- it is difficult to keep steady without holding on when the subway starts and stops, as it is not always as smooth a ride as you might hope. And no one likes it when you fall on them because you weren't holding on.

6. Don't Lean on the Poles

Just because you're tired, it doesn't mean it's alright to lean up against a pole in the subway car. When someone leans on the poles, it makes it difficult for other folks to hold on when the train is moving.

7. Keep Your Bags (and Your Feet) Off the Seats

Keep in mind that even if the subway isn't very crowded when you board, it may get more crowded quickly, so you should keep your bags on your lap or on the floor in front of you if you're sitting down. Keeping your feet off the seat ensures that other folks have a clean place to sit when they ride the subway.

8. Move To The Center of the Car

When trains are crowded, it is important to move to the center of the subway car to make room for other riders. Standing by the door even if you move to the side makes it difficult for people getting on and off the train.

9. In An Emergency Stay in the Subway Car

The safest place is inside the subway car. In the event of a situation where you have to leave the subway car, you should know about blue and white lights in the subway car. Blue lights in the subway mark the spot where there is a telephone, power off switch, and fire extinguisher. Pick up the phone after switching off the power -- otherwise, power will be restored after about a minute. Five white lights in a circle or on a bar mark an exit to the street.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.