656 miles of lines and trains running 24 hours a day!
Knowing New York Subway well allows you to get the most out of your MetroCard, minimise wasted time and enjoy its simplicity, convenience and the easiest way to discover New York.
Stations are marked on the map with a black dot if only local trains stop and with a white dot if both local and express trains stop.
The main feature of NY Subway is that there are slow trains that stop everywhere and fast trains that only stop at certain stations. The Metro Card is valid for both.
Express and local trains.
In our underground lines, you are standing on the platform and all trains run on that platform. This is NOT the case in the NY Subway: express trains run on tracks that are between the local trains. So if you are in a station for local trains only, it is very easy because you just have to watch the direction of the trains. If you are in a station where both local and express trains stop, you have to rely on the signposts.
To simplify things, the map does NOT have one colour for each line, but one colour for each GROUP of lines, so you will find the red line corresponding to lines 1,2,3, the blue line corresponding to lines A,C,E etc. The lines with the same colour have the same colour.
Lines with the same colour have the same path but diverge at the end. Be careful because even if they have the same route they do NOT make the same stops. Example: blue line (lines A,C,E) line A stops only at stations with white dots (express trains) while for lines C and E trains stop at all stations if they are local or only at stations with white dots if they are express trains.
Next to each station the lines that actually stop are indicated.
If you look closely at the map, you will see that the numbers next to the stops may or may not be in bold: in the first case, the line will stop at that station at any time of the day or night, seven days a week; if the number is not in bold, it means that the stop at that station will only be at certain times of the day or night, and only on weekdays or holidays.
On the same map you will also find, for the main stations, the buses that run and their direction.
Stations with the same name on different lines are often VERY distant from each other: the problem is that in Manhattan there are streets that run from left to right and Avenues that run from north to south in both cases for entire kilometres.
Normally you will find indications related to the neighbourhoods or areas of Manhattan, so you will find directions to the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Downtown, Uptown... but also the streets that are the end of the line.
The MetroCard allows you to travel for 7 days. The card is also valid on buses, just insert it in the machine next to the driver when you get on. At least in this case, everything is very simple, as you only have to pass the card to the entry panel and that's it. Just one recommendation: to avoid abuse, if you enter a certain station and swipe your MetroCard, it cannot be swiped at the same station for the next 18 minutes. No problem, you're thinking, mistake! There are many stations where the entrance for trains going uptown is different from the entrance for trains going downtown, so if you make a mistake you CANNOT fix it by simply exiting and re-entering on the opposite side, but you have to wait 18 minutes before swiping again.