The New York City region (which includes the five counties, or boroughs, of Manhattan, Brooklyn (Kings), Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island) is quite an expanse, and with all of the communities comes the need for efficient public transportation. However, the region’s size does not mean that it gets better transit service than smaller metro areas. In fact, the NYC region faces many of the same challenges as other regions – including ridership fluctuations, fare and service changes, system maintenance, and above all…funding.
In this section, I will highlight both historical and practical information regarding the NYC bus and subway systems, as well as provide accounts of my three visits to the region. Like my other transport pages; you’ll find background information on the bus and subway systems, current fare information, how to look up routes, and more. Unlike my other sections, however, I will be posting comprehensive guides for key subway stations within Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. These guides will include (but are not limited to) Queensboro Plaza, Coney Island – Stillwell Ave, South Ferry, Times Square – 42nd St, and Grand Central Terminal.
The New York MTA is the largest public transportation operator in the United States (chartered by the State of New York as a public benefit corporation), carrying over 8 million riders a day across its subway, bus, and commuter rail lines. The MTA also operates the Staten Island Railway and several bridges and tunnels that connect commuters to the boroughs. In addition, the MTA contracts with the Connecticut Department of Transportation to provide commuter rail services to the cities of New Canaan, Danbury, Waterbury, and New Haven in the state of Connecticut. The MTA currently possesses a fleet of about 6,000 buses, over 6,000 subway cars (63 of them assigned to the Staten Island Railway), and over 2,000 commuter rail cars. Paratransit Services (Access-A-Ride) is currently contracted out to private operators throughout the boroughs.
Transit Network Structure
Much of the MTA system operates on a grid, where transfers between buses can be made along the street or at key intersections. Some bus hubs do exist throughout the boroughs, but many bus routes are not reliant on them. Subway services run either underground (hence the name “Subway”) or on elevated tracks. Elevated lines can be found in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens, while trains mostly run underground in Manhattan. The Staten Island Railway operates along an at-grade or trench setting, and commuter rail lines are mostly at-grade, with some elevated, trenched, and underground sections. Staffed customer service centers and booths are found throughout the boroughs, including in many subway stations. Customer services are also provided via telephone on the state-operated 511 line.
The Weekender (Interactive weekend service map that shows planned weekend construction work on the subway)
Additional maps and guides can be found on mta.info
Bus service guides can be found on mta.info
Below is a listing of some key transit hubs/transfer points, some of which tie into rail stations. Not all transfer points are listed.
*Limited service bus line (part-time status).
George Washington Bridge Bus Station: Bx3, Bx7, Bx11, Bx13, Bx35, Bx 36, M4, M5, M98*, M100. Short walk from the (1) & (A) subway stations at 181st St.
66th St/Lincoln Center: M5, M7, M11, M20, M66, M104. On-site transfer is available to the (1) subway station at 66th St/Lincoln Center.
Abingdon Square: M11, M12, M14A, M20. Short walk to the (A), (C), (E), and (L) subway station at 14th St/8th Ave.
8th St/Astor Pl: M1, M2, M3, M8, M55. Short walk to the (6) subway station at Astor Pl and to the (R)(W) subway station at 8th St/NYU.
Whitehall St/South St: M15 Local, M20, M55. M15 SBS buses drop off at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. Short walk to either the (1) subway station at South Ferry or the (R)(W) subway station at Whitehall St.
Brooklyn and Queens
Queens Plaza vicinity: Q32, Q39, Q60, Q62, Q67, Q66, Q69, Q100, Q101, Q102. Connect to the (7)(N) and subway lines at Queensboro Plaza. Connect ot the (E)(M) and (R) subway lines at Queens Plaza. Connect to the (F) subway line at 21st St/Queensbridge. Connect to the (7) and (G) subway lines at Court Square.
Woodside: Q18, Q32, Q53, Q70 SBS to LGA. On-site transfer is available to the (7) subway station at 61st St/Woodside. Connect to the Long Island Rail Road at Woodside.
Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues: B13, B26, B52, B54, Q55, Q58. On-site transfer is available to the (L) subway station and (M) shuttle buses.
Williamsburg Bridge/Washington Plaza: B24, B39, B44-SBS, B46, B62, Q54, and Q59. Transfer is available to the (J)(M) and (Z) subway station at Marcy Ave.