A Beginner’s Guide to New York’s Subway System
For the average New Yorker, the subway is one of the best ways to go around the city. But for the uninitiated, understanding the city’s subway system can be tricky. Nick Herle, a New York-based tour guide, shares tips on navigating one of the world’s oldest public transit systems.
Before anything else, get a MetroCard
Commuters should first get a MetroCard to navigate the city without worries. They can avail of these cards through the vending machines near the entrances and can be paid by cash, debit, or credit card. Single-ride and unlimited ride cards are available. Nick Herle says that to save money, one must hold on to their MetroCard and refill it when it runs out of credits. As some machines might be malfunctioning, it is best to hold on to the receipt.
Use the subway map
With different lines that are identified by their letter and number, it might be difficult for a first-timer to absorb verbal instructions from locals. This is why it’s important to be familiar with the subway map. Nick Herle says that one can get a subway map from MTA personnel and even ask these train staff for directions along the way.
Understand the difference between local and express trains
Nick Herle says that knowing the purpose of these two train types will save a person a lot of time. On the one hand, the local train, characterized by a black dot on the subway map, stops at every station in their direction. On the other hand, the express train, marked by a white dot on the map, might skip certain stations. This detail is important to avoid missing stops and to save time.
Familiarize with uptown and downtown New York
Understanding whether a location is uptown or downtown Manhattan will help a person choose the right entrance in some stations. Aside from making navigation easier, getting in the wrong entrance might require a person to cross the street to get to the right train.
Tour guide Nick Herle knows the places that have the best activities for people with specific interests. He has all these destinations in his list, from museums and architectural wonders to Broadway theaters and the like. For updates from Nick, click here.