I know one of the scariest parts of moving to NYC, especially if you’re from a less busy and more car-centric town like me, is public transportation. If you want to take your time getting used to the subway, and have money to burn on Ubers, I’d definitely recommend those, as they’re hands-off. But, for the most part you’ll be taking the subway everywhere. And here’s how to do that.
If you don’t feel like reading this whole thing, there’s a six-point TL;DR at the end that just sums up my important notes as well as subway etiquette.
Fare and Getting a Card
Fare costs I think $2.75 right now, which makes a roundtrip ticket cost $5.50. You can either get a one-way ticket, which costs $3, or a refillable ticket, which you can put a certain amount of money on, with a $1 fee. There are also weekly and monthly passes, really only necessary if you’re going out a lot for an internship or something, several times a week. Or, like me, you’re living so far from campus that you’re taking the sub to class every day. The way weeklys and monthlys work is that you pay a certain amount to get the card, and then you get free swipes every 18 minutes for either that week or that month. For example, the weekly is about $31, so if you swipe more than 11 times in one week (so about 5 trips), you’ll pay it off. The problem is that you can’t use it for the next 18 minutes, so there’s no convenient way to use it for anyone else. So my personal recommendation for you, if you’re a freshman, is a refillable card. Put about $20 on it, because the card doesn’t expire for another three or four years. Be careful, because sometimes the card booths only take cash, or only take credit/debit. So have both ready.
Once you’ve gotten a card, and hang on to that card, you’re gonna swipe through the turnstile (briskly, if you go to slow or too quickly it’ll make you swipe again) and find your train. Beware of turnstile hopping, because yes it’s possible and it saves time, but if you get caught at all, you will be fined a minimum of $100 and possibly actually arrested, depending on the amount of chill the guard has. Do it at your own risk.