Navigating NYC Public Transportation

Getting around NYC can be confusing at first, and you may be tempted to take a taxi everywhere. Contrary to popular belief the limits of the subway vs. taxi options no longer exist! With apps like Uber and bikes rising popularity, the range of transportation options around a city as big as NYC are almost endless.

NYC Subway and Bus System:

Beginning operation in 1863 the subway is a historic and trusted form of transportation in the city. Definitely consider buying an unlimited metro card to save money ($121) if you plan on using the subway daily. Each individual ride costs $2.75. The NYC transit website here gives a breakdown of the various metrocard options you can purchase (see image below).  If you don’t plan on riding the train at least twice a day then it’s possible that it’ll be cheaper by purchasing them each time. Don’t forget to take into account your work commute as well as your social commute! Taxi’s and other forms of transportation can be expensive and pretty much avoidable if you learn the subway and bus systems. However, if you live in a borough and like to party in the city, a taxi or uber may be your only way of getting home.

Taxis: The yellow taxi cab.

Taxis are a tried and true form of transportation in NYC. Yellow Medallion Taxi Cabs and Limousines are regulated by the TLC requirements, making them safe and reliable options for transportation. With over 50,000 taxi drivers and over 13,000 yellow medallions, you will usually be able to find a taxi if necessary. Whether you want to live out your Sex and the City fantasy or just commute to JFK for a red eye, the taxis in NYC are there for you.

App Based Services:

With recent technological advances, taxis and the subway are no longer the only options for transportation in major cities. Today app-based services  offer rides all over NYC and throughout the five boroughs, as well as completely outside of the city. The most popular apps are currently  Uber and Lyft however more apps are on the rise such as Gett and Via.  During high periods these services are more pricey. However, you are basically getting a trusted, clean, and regulated private car to take you wherever you want to go. My favorite thing about these services is if you leave a personal belonging, you can easily call tehm back via the app!


Bikes are one of my all-time favorite forms of transportation around the city. While not always a realistic option, it is a great form of transportation around your local borough, or even to work depending on how far your commute is. Citi Bike is a bike share system servicing the Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Jersey City. Pricing ranges for Citi Bike, from $4 for a single ride (30 minutes), $12 for a day pass (unlimited 30 minute rides), or $163/year for an unlimited pass (unlimited 45 minute rides). If you plan to bike often, owning one is more cost effective. Not only are bikes free (once purchased), they are a great form of exercise. So you can probably just skip the gym all together if you bike to work.


Covering 304.6 miles, NYC is large and in charge. However, if you have the proper shoes and a little motivation, walking can be a form of cheap (free) transportation in the city. While walking is not realistic for every occasion, depending on how far your commute is, walking is a healthy and cost effective form of transportation to get around.

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