How to ride the new york city subway

by Renee Bailey

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How to ride the new york city subway

One of the most popular searches on the internet is “how much to open a Subway franchise?” This article overviews the franchisor-provided estimates for the opening of one Subway restaurant.

The estimated financial range for setting up and operating a Subway restaurant for the first three months ranges between $100,050 and $342,400, depending on location type. Subway has two types of franchises: traditional and non-traditional.

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How to ride the new york city subway

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Traditional locations are full-service restaurants where the only purpose is the operation of a Subway restaurant. Non-traditional locations are also full-service, but are housed with another business. Examples of non-traditional locations include: convenience stores, gasoline stations, highway rest stops, department stores, hospitals, parks, universities, schools, sports arenas, convention centers, airports, theme parks, national parks, bus and railroad terminals, military bases, business complexes, assisted living/nursing homes, and other similar locations.

Based off of its years of experience, Subway estimates the estimated initial investment range for both types. The data in the chart below comes from Subway’s 2020 Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). The estimated initial investment range covers from a non-traditional location size up to a traditional location size.

Name of Fee Low High
Initial Franchise Fee $15,000 $15,000
Real Property $2,000 $12,000
Leasehold Improvements $40,900 $200,000
Equipment Lease Security Deposit $7,500 $15,500
Optional Security System $2,450 $3,550
Freight Charges (varies by location) $3,000 $14,000
Outside Signage $1,600 $8,000
Opening Inventory $4,400 $6,050
Insurance $1,200 $5,000
Supplies $500 $1,300
Training Expenses (including travel & lodging) $2,500 $4,500
Legal and Accounting $1,000 $3,500
Opening Advertising $2,000 $4,000
Miscellaneous Expenses (business license, utility deposits & small equipment) $4,000 $8,000
Additional Funds – three months $12,000 $42,000
ESTIMATED TOTAL $100,050 $342,400

Variations in final cost depend on area real estate costs, the size of restaurant being opened, renovations that need to be made, and additional factors such as the amount of traffic the restaurant gets in its opening months.

Like any similar business, Subway opening costs include acquiring real estate, renovation and/or construction costs, signage, professional fees (which can include license, accounting and lawyer fees), and more. However, the defining fee for buying a franchise is the franchise fee.

The franchise fee is basically a cover charge for entry into a franchise system, and for taking advantage of the expertise the franchisor has acquired. It typically covers the right to use the franchisor’s system (including trademarks and operating system), and services the franchisor provides to franchisees like help finding a location, training materials, etc. For Subway, and most franchises, the franchise fee is due in full when the franchise agreement is signed.

As noted in the chart above, the standard Subway franchise fee is $15,000. However, exceptions do apply.

Subway currently offers a discount of the franchise fee for qualified US Veterans who purchase a franchise. The franchisor also offers to finance $10,000 of the franchise fee if franchisees are purchasing their first franchise and they qualify under its minority loan program. A similar loan program may be offered to franchisees purchasing a franchise for a low density market.

A reduced franchise fee of $5,000 is also available to Subway franchisees who desire to open a satellite restaurant—this fee will be reduced to $1,000 if the satellite will be in operation for one year or less. The franchise fee would be waived entirely for satellite locations located in the same facility of the base Subway restaurant.

In addition, the franchisor is currently waiving its initial franchise fee for school lunch locations, and for oil company retailers who have at least 50 units and convert an existing sandwich business they’ve created, own, and operate at their facility into a Subway restaurant.

In addition to the opening costs, Subway also has a liquid cash requirement of at least $30,000. The requirement is the amount of money a franchisor suggests a franchisee have in savings and able to access quickly in case of emergencies and setbacks when opening the business. It also accounts for regular living expenses until the franchise unit begins turning a profit large enough for the franchisee to garner an adequate take-home wage.

For more details on the costs of a Subway franchise, please see our Subway FDD page. To get franchise investment details on other related franchise opportunities, click here.

Before I delve into the details of how to take the trains, let me help you understand some of the basic information about the system.

What is the New York City subway system?

The subway system is the main public transportation system in New York. It is one of the oldest and largest public transportation systems in the world (in terms of number of stations). With some 5.5 million riders on a given weekday, it is one of the primary modes of transportation for the majority of New Yorkers and tourists. The system is operated by a subsidiary of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).

The subway system is usually just referred to as the “trains.” Locals say “I can take the train to your place” to generally mean that they take the subway. The subway is never referred to as the metro, underground, or tube.

Unless noted otherwise, I mean the subway system if I just use the word train by itself. While trains mostly run underground in Manhattan, a good portion of trains run on elevated tracks in the other boroughs. With some exceptions the whole subway system operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It essentially never closes, except for major incidents such as hurricanes.

What is not the New York City subway?

While the subway system is the primary mode of transportation in New York, it is not the only transportation system in the greater metropolitan area. Other large, train-based transportation systems exist in this area that you might confuse with the New York subway include the following:

  • AirTrain JFK/Newark
  • Amtrak
  • Long Island Rail Road (LIRR)
  • Metro-North Railroad
  • New Jersey Transit
  • Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH)

With the exception of the AirTrains, these trains are also referred to as “commuter trains” because commuters from outside New York take these to commute in and out of the city on a daily basis. This guide does not apply to any of these transportation systems.

To avoid confusion some locals refer to these transportation systems by their names. They’ll say, “I’m taking Metro-North this weekend,” “Let’s take New Jersey Transit to the airport,” or “I’m coming in from the PATH train.”

Understanding New York City’s geography

New York City is divided into five boroughs with Manhattan being the central area where the majority of tourist attractions reside:

How to ride the new york city subway

The New York subway system operates in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. It never leaves New York City. You have to take one of the commuter trains mentioned previously to do so.

The boroughs are often used as a direction of travel for trains:

  • Trains that travel towards Manhattan are Manhattan-bound trains
  • Trains that travel to Queens are Queens-bound trains
  • Trains that travel to Brooklyn are Brooklyn-bound trains
  • Trains that travel to Bronx are Bronx-bound trains

The Staten Island Railway is a separate train system that runs on Staten Island only. Even though it is often depicted on the New York subway map, there does not exist a physical connection between the two systems. You have to take the (free) Staten Island Ferry or cross the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on a car to get to Staten Island. However, the system operates on the same farecard as the regular subway system: there is a free transfer between the two systems (you pay only once in one system, and the second swipe with the same farecard within two hours will be free in the other system).

Manhattan’s street grid

The street system in Manhattan is famously composed of a rectangular street grid. Streets (abbreviated as “St”) travel east and west, while avenues (abbreviated “Ave”) travel north and south. (This is not entirely accurate, since the grid system is not perfectly aligned with the directions on the compass.) Street numbering increases as you go further north, while avenue numbering increases as you go further west:

How to ride the new york city subway

This grid system is not perfect. For instance, 4th Ave is named Park Ave for most of its stretch and the grid system does not really exist below 14th St for historical reasons. The rectangular area that streets and avenues create in between are referred to as blocks and are also often used as a colloquial measure of distance. You might hear “the subway station is two blocks east” or “I have to walk three blocks to get to work”. Because blocks are rectangular in shape, blocks can be “short blocks” (if you walk north-south along an avenue) or “long blocks” (if you walk east-west along a street). Long blocks are also referred to as crosstown blocks. It takes about 1 minute to walk a short block or 3-4 minutes to walk a long block. Keep this concept in mind as it will help you find subway stations and navigate maps.

Understanding Uptown, Midtown, and Downtown

Roughly speaking, Manhattan can be divided into three areas:

  • Uptown (anything north of 59th St.)
  • Midtown (between 59th St. and 14th St.)
  • Downtown (anything south of 14th St.)

How to ride the new york city subway

While Uptown, Midtown, and Downtown are geographic regions of Manhattan, the words uptown and downtown can also mean the direction of travel. If you head north (towards the Bronx or Queens), you are heading “uptown”; if you head south (or towards Brooklyn), you are heading “downtown.” Locals rarely use the words “north” or “south” for that reason. We do however use “east” and “west” in Manhattan (“just walk two blocks east”) even though it’s not technically accurate. Navigating east and west is also referred to as “crosstown” as in “to get to the Upper East Side you have to take a crosstown bus through Central Park”.

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How to ride the new york city subway

TripSavvy / Kelsea Watkins

The subway is a fast, affordable way to get around New York City, but it’s also one that has its own etiquette and set of rules. Learn some valuable tips for riding the New York City subway and you’ll be traveling around like a local in no time.

Watch Now: Riding the Subway in New York City

Interpret Subway Entrance Signs

Entrances are typically located on street corners with a staircase descending into the station. If a station is marked with a large green ball, you can buy a MetroCard inside; if a station is marked with a red ball, you need to already have a MetroCard to enter.

Use Free Transfers

A MetroCard allows one free transfer within two hours of first swiping your card. You can transfer from bus to subway, subway to bus, bus to bus, or between select subway stations. (Free subway-to-subway transfers only apply when you are required to exit the station to make your connection.) If you take the subway one way and the bus back you can get two rides for one fare, but you can’t transfer between buses going in opposite directions (i.e Madison and Fifth Avenue buses).

Read Subway Station Maps

One of the most helpful things about New York City’s subway stations is the maps located near the entrances. In addition to having a map of the subway system, there is normally a neighborhood map that shows the streets in the area in detail. It’s a good idea to check out the map before you leave the subway, but it’s also great to know that, if you’re lost near a subway station, you can always duck in and check out a map to find your way around.

Check the Direction Before You Swipe

At many subway stations, there are separate entrances for trains running uptown and downtown. Once you swipe your card, you can’t get a refund, so be sure to check the sign to make sure you’re swiping your card at the right entrance. This mistake is particularly frustrating if you’ve purchased an unlimited card: You’ll have to wait 18 minutes before using the card again at the same bus or subway station. You can also ask an attendant for help if you’re confused about where to enter.

Head to the Front or Back of the Train

For your best shot at finding a seat, head to the very back or very front of the train. This works particularly well during busy events. After a Yankees game lets out, for example, nearly every rider congregates at the middle of the D train platform and waits for several trains to pass before boarding; if you squeeze through the crowds and walk to the front or back of the platform, you’ll likely get on the next train and even score a seat.

Hold on to the Pole

If you don’t get a seat, make sure you find a pole to hold when the train begins to move. It’s difficult to keep steady without holding on when the subway starts and stops as it’s not always as smooth a ride as you might hope. And no one likes it when you fall on them because you weren’t holding on.

Don’t Lean on the Pole

Just because you’re tired, that doesn’t mean it’s alright to lean up against a pole in the subway car. If you lean on the pole, you’ll take up almost all of that real estate, making it impossible for others to hold on and making it more likely that they’ll fall on you during the ride.

Keep Your Bags (And Your Feet) Off the Seats

Keep in mind that even if the subway isn’t very crowded when you board it may get more crowded quickly, so you should keep your bags on your lap or on the floor in front of you if you’re sitting down. Keeping your feet off the seat ensures that other folks have a clean place to sit when they ride the subway.

Move to the Center of the Car

When trains are crowded, it’s important to move to the center of the subway car to make room for other riders. Standing by the door, even if you move to the side, makes it difficult for people getting on and off the train.

Step off the Train to Let Others Board

If you’re standing by the door on a crowded, rush-hour train, step onto the platform at each station to let others off of the train. You can step back into the car as soon as every rider has exited. This makes it easy for everyone to board and keeps trains from getting more delayed.

Let Riders off First

When you’re waiting for a train, it’s tempting to rush on and grab a seat as soon as it pulls into the station. But to facilitate orderly boarding, let any passengers off the train before you enter. They’re making more space for you, after all. This is particularly important at busy express stops, like Times Square or Union Square, where nearly everyone in the car might be exiting.

In an Emergency, Stay in the Subway Car

The safest place is inside the subway car. In the event of a situation where you have to leave the subway car, you should know about blue and white lights in the subway car. Blue lights in the subway mark the spot where there is a telephone, power off switch, and fire extinguisher. Pick up the phone after switching off the power. Otherwise, power will be restored after about a minute. Five white lights in a circle or on a bar mark an exit to the street.

How to ride the new york city subway

There are three different ways of purchasing a MetroCard.

MetroCard is a thin card made of plastic and can be operated in two modes: Regular and Unlimited Ride. Regardless, the mode card looks the same, so it is not possible to see the difference before swiping it at a card reader. Both types of cards cost $1.

MetroCards can be purchased at any subway station at a staffed ticket booth or a vending machine that is located inside the station. However, riders should consider that the smaller machine does not accept cash when with large machines, it is possible to pay with both cash and credit cards.


How to ride the new york city subway

The Regular MetroCard is also referred to as a Pay-Per-Ride card and can be shared between four people. For sharing the card, it should be swiped maximum four times to let several people through the turnstiles. Pay-Per-Ride cards can also be used for other public transportation such as buses.

Users can keep on adding value to the card whenever their balance is running low. However, when buying a card, passengers should consider that the $1 cost of the card cannot be used to pay for the rides.

Unlimited Ride Cards

How to ride the new york city subway

Unlimited Ride cards are providing the convenience of riding the subway as often as required, as long as the time window purchased for the card hasn’t passed.

There are two-time window options:

  • Seven-day Unlimited Ride costs $33, excluding a $1 fee for the card.
  • The price for the thirty-day unlimited ride is $127 without a $1 fee for the card.

    The time window activates only after the first swipe of the card at a turnstile.

    The 18-minute delay between each of the swipes prevents sharing the card between two people.


    How to ride the new york city subway

    Opened in 1904, New York City Subway is located in New York, United States. The system serves Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx and never leaves the city.

    How to ride the new york city subway

    In the NYC Subway terminology, a “line” means the physical trackage used by trains that are used by lettered or numbered services. Currently, the company or division names are not used publicly, when the line names may be used occasionally. The services that are running on certain lines tend to change periodically, but the lines refer to static trackage. Therefore the line represents the physical structure of tracks that trains run over. Every section of the system is assigned with a unique name that necessarily starts with its first division (IND, IRT, or BMT). For example, the line that runs under Eighth Avenue is called the IND Eighth Avenue Line. During the time, some lines have changed their names and divisions, but this happened relatively rarely. Service in the subway terminology refers to the route which the train takes across the various lines. A service can operate along various lines and even different divisions. For example, the R service is running along the IND Queens Boulevard Line. Currently, the New York City Subway includes 36 different rail lines. The 63rd Street Lines and the Archer Avenue Lines are both classified as two separate lines because of their structure. Both lines are available to serve two divisions on distinct sections of track. Each line has a specific color and name. For example, the 8th Avenue line is always blue when Broadway 7th Avenue is always red. Due to the number of lines, even locals frequently don’t know the official name of the line. However, even though it migh

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    How do you pay for NYC subway?

    Subways and buses Pay with a MetroCard, or use contactless payment where OMNY scanners are available.

    How do you use the subway in NYC?

    NYC Subway fare options First, if you only plan to ride the subway once — one way — you can go to any vending machine and purchase a single-ride card for $3. After swiping it through the turnstile, you can toss it, since these paper cards are for one-time use only.

    Is the subway easy to use in New York?

    If you are riding the subway in Manhattan, navigating the subway system is very easy. Manhattan is set up so that the streets run across town from east to west, and the avenues run north and south.

    How do I get a MetroCard in NYC?

    You can buy MetroCards by using a MetroCard ticket machine, which are in most subway stations. MetroCards are also available at selected local merchants, at our mobile service vehicles, and through employers with pre-tax transit benefits programs.

    How many times can you swipe a MetroCard?

    Unlimited Ride fares cannot be used more than once every 18 minutes. This is designed to prevent fraudulent use of the card by multiple people. Subway station agents cannot override the 18-minute rule— you must wait for the time to expire.

    How much should I budget for a trip to NYC?

    You should plan to spend around $239 per day on your vacation in New York City, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors. Past travelers have spent, on average, $38 on meals for one day and $40 on local transportation. Also, the average hotel price in New York City for a couple is $275.

    What is the most dangerous part of New York City?

    The worst neighborhoods and districts in Unsafe Areas in New York are: Long wood. A neighborhood in the Bronx, with population of 33,198 people. Fort Greene. A Brooklyn neighborhood of 23,886 people. Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill & Dumbo.

    Is it cheaper to take a taxi or Uber in NYC?

    Uber appears more expensive for prices below 35 dollars and begins to become cheaper only after that threshold. In other words, generally speaking and for short-range trips, a taxi is more affordable. There are some caveats to this study to consider.

    What is the most dangerous subway station?

    The Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center subway stop topped the list, followed by Manhattan’s Port Authority. According to a new study released by Auto Insurance Center, the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center stop is among the most dangerous subway stations in New York City.

    Is Times Square dangerous at night?

    Times Square is very safe at night, and with all the lights, it’s an amazing sight with great photo ops! NYC is statistically a safe city but you still have to exercise common sense at all times.

    How do I not look like a tourist in NYC?

    Here are eight ways to avoid being that tourist when vacationing in NYC. Don’t stop in the middle of the sidewalk. Single file, please. Swipe your Metrocard in one swift motion. Hail a taxi like a pro. Skip the M&M and Hershey’s stores in Times Square. Save the “I You might be interested: Readers ask: Visiting new york city where to stay?

    How much are subway tickets in New York?

    New York City subway fares are $2.75 per trip. For visitors staying more than a couple of days you can buy a one week unlimited MetroCard for $33 or an unlimited monthly MetroCard for $127.00. People who are 65 or older or who have qualifying disabilities can get a reduced fare, which is half price.

    How much is a MetroCard 2020?

    Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard is available in $5.50, $11.00, $22.00, $27.50, $41.75, and $67.50 denominations. Unlimited Ride MetroCard passes are also available. The 7-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard, the 30-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard, and the 7-Day Express Bus Plus MetroCard costs $33, $127, and $62, respectively.

    How much is a single ride on MTA?

    A single subway ride costs $2.75 for most people, a $1 fee applies when you buy a new MetroCard, and the minimum balance you can put on a new card is $5.50 (the cost of two swipes), according to the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

    In 2014 an average of 5.6 million people rode the New York City Subway System per day with the busiest times being between the hours of 7 to 9 A.M. and from 4 to 6 P.M., so if you’re planning to use the subway system to get around the city during your visit, you’ll have a lot of company. How to ride the new york city subway

    Here are a few tips on how to ride the subway system safely, whether its the middle of the day or after midnight:

      Know Where Your Going Before You Enter the System – You’ll be amazed at the number of people who walk up to me on the subway with a piece of paper in hand with an address written on it and ask me how to get there. I’m sorry, but that’s ridiculous.

    Finding out how to get to where you need to go on the subway couldn’t be easier. Take a look the article Riding the NYC Subway Made Easy which explains in detail how to navigate the New York City subway system. If you’re still having trouble, ask the Concierge at your hotel or the Token Booth Clerk at the entrance to the subway station.

    Don’t go down onto the tracks. ever! – You wouldn’t think it’s necessary to tell people that, but 141 people were struck by trains in 2012 and 55 of them were killed. If you drop something on the tracks, go tell the MTA employee in the booth or a police officer. Your life is worth more than an iPhone.

    Avoid the Last Car – People with bad intent and the homeless frequent the back of the train.

    Say a firm “No” to Aggressive Panhandlers – Don’t let panhandlers and the homeless intimidate, or fool you. It’s illegal to solicit in the subway and many of the sick or homeless you see doing so are actually con artists making a good living scamming people out of their money.

    New York City has a vast number of services for the homeless, for veterans, and for the sick and disabled. Go ahead and give if your heart tells you to, but if you’d rather not, a shake of the head or a firm “no” will cause most to move on.

    If it’s late, ride with the Conductor – You’ll find people riding the subway well into the wee hours of the morning, especially in Manhattan. For safety’s sake, you should ride in the car where the conductor is stationed which is in the middle of the train. He or she can summons NYPD easily if any problems arise.

    When it’s late, wait for the train in the Off-Hours Waiting Area – It’s usually located near the Station Agent Booth or it can been seen by the Station Agent via video camera. You’ll have plenty of time to get to the platform when the train comes.

    Hopefully these tips will help you feel confident that you can safely navigate the New York City Subway System like a native.

    How to ride the new york city subway

    If you are planning to go to NYC soon, then you have an important question to ask yourself! Do you know how the NYC subway works? If so, you’re very lucky. If not, you’re going to have some work to do! Because the New York subway is not really easy to use. Let me tell you a little anecdote….. After dropping off our luggage at the hotel on our first trip, we wanted to go to Times Square to fully immerse ourselves in the NYC vibes. We took the subway and…

    From Chelsea, we visited all of southern Manhattan to Chinatown, before heading back in the right direction towards Times Square! So, to avoid wasting time while riding the subway, I suggest you to discover this special NYC subway guide! You will find the main operating rules as well as some useful tips to avoid the pitfalls ?

    Riding the New York City subway : some rules to remember

    ➜ To identify the subway lines, we do not use the terminus station but the running direction (Uptown or Downtown).

    Uptown is indicated for lines going towards Upper Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens. Downtown is indicated for lines going towards Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.

    ➜ The subway station you are entering doesn’t necessarily serve both directions.

    Sometimes, you find a station for one direction (Uptown) and the other station across the street for the other direction (Downtown). There are also stations that serve both directions. In any case, this information is mentioned at the entrance of subway stations.

    How to ride the new york city subway

    New York subway entrance. In this picture, the station only serves the Uptown direction.

    ➜ Several subway lines run on the same platform.

    This is the most common mistake! Remember to look at the subway number or letter when entering the platform to make sure that you get in the right one! Otherwise, you may run in the wrong way.

    ➜ Subways do not necessarily stop at all the stations they are supposed to serve.

    I know, it’s getting a little bit complicated! Each line is served by two types of trains :

    • The local train which stops at all stations of the subway line.
    • The express train which only stops at the main stations of the subway line.

    How to ride the new york city subway

    In general, there are more local trains than express trains, but don’t forget to pay attention to this detail! Express train is therefore faster than local train but you have to be sure it’ll stop at the station you want to go to.

    To identify express trains and local trains :

    • When entering the platform, a soundtrack informs passengers whether it is a local or an express train.
    • The information is also visible on the display screens located on the platforms.

    How to ride the new york city subwayTo identify them easily on the subway map, stations served by express trains are displayed with a white spot and stations served by local trains with a black spot.

    ➜ During weekends, many subway lines are modified.

    These changes affect both schedules and itineraries. It is not uncommon for some lines not to serve certain stations on weekends.Temporary line modifications are mentioned at stations and on platforms with posters (unfortunately not really visible!). If you notice a white poster filled with black text and the logo of some subway lines, I advise you to read it!

    Are you ready to take the subway in NYC ?

    Let’s check now if you have remembered these few rules ?

    What information is displayed here ?

    How to ride the new york city subway

    We will probably access two platforms:

    • A first platform that serves A, C, B & D lines in the downtown direction.
    • A second platform that serves the 1 line in the uptown direction.
    • If you have to take the A line, remember to check the train you are getting on! Don’t forget that there are 3 other lines on this platform! Don’t either forget to check if it is an express or a local train.

    NYC subway map

    Honestly, it takes a few training trips to master the New York subway and not just enter the first subway! But once you understand how it works, the NYC metro is particularly effective. Take a look at the plan and see how many lines are in circulation!

    How to ride the new york city subway

    Perhaps the only disadvantage is the lack of east/west connections in Manhattan. Sometimes you have to walk a bit or make a detour by subway to reach your destination. Wheelchair accessible stations are mentioned on the map with the icon.

    There is also nothing to say about subway safety: even at the quietest hours of the night, the lines running in Manhattan are generally safe. During the day, some large stations are under police surveillance. Of course, as in all big cities, beware of pickpockets who can be anywhere!

    Finally, while the overall aspect of the subway network is quite old, there is nevertheless wifi access in a very large number of stations.

    Metrocards and faresHow to ride the new york city subway

    Subway tickets are called metrocards in New York City.

    Trip planner and schedules

    If you need some help to plan your subway trips, the TripPlanner tool is made for you. Enter the starting point and the point of arrival and it will tell you what to do!

    New York City’s subway schedule is extremely flexible: it never stops and runs 24 hours a day! In other words, if you go out late at night, you can return to the hotel at any time! Be careful: there are fewer trains at night than during the day, so travel times can be extended.

    Straphangers will be able to test the MTA’s new tap-to-pay fare system starting Friday. Here’s what you need to know about OMNY.

      Noah Manskar , Patch Staff

    NEW YORK — Out with the old, in with the OMNY. That’s the name the MTA has given the new tap-to-pay fare system that will eventually replace the MetroCard — and straphangers will give it a test starting Friday.

    Riders may have noticed glowing screens attached to the turnstiles at a handful of subway stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. That’s where they will be able to hold their credit cards or cellphones to pay fares during the first phase of the rollout for OMNY, which stands for “One Metro New York.”

    The launch of the new system marks the beginning of the end for the MetroCard, which straphangers have used to swipe through the turnstiles for more than a quarter-century. But the technology will catch New York City’s public transit system up with with other big cities such as London, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

    Find out what’s happening in New York City with free, real-time updates from Patch.

    Here’s what straphangers need to know at the start of a new era for the subway.

    Where Can I Use OMNY?

    Riders will be able to use the tap-to-pay technology on the 4, 5 and 6 lines from Grand Central Terminal in Midtown to Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It will also be active on all Staten Island buses.

    Find out what’s happening in New York City with free, real-time updates from Patch.

    The MTA plans to expand the system to the entire subway system and all bus routes by late 2020, and it’s expected to hit the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad in 2022.

    How Does OMNY Work?

    OMNY is a contactless payment system that uses near-field communication, a radio-based technology that allows electronic devices such as smartphones to interact with each other.

    To use the system, straphangers just have to hold their smartphone or credit card up to the reader on the turnstile. The screen will then say “go” if the payment was accepted or give another message if the transaction does not work.

    The system will work with contactless credit cards, which bear a symbol with four curved lines. Riders can also use smartphones or wearable devices with enabled digital wallets like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay and Fitbit Pay. The MTA also says its own contactless transit card will be available starting in 2021.

    How Much Does It Cost?

    Rides bought through OMNY will cost $2.75 apiece, just like with the MetroCard. But straphangers can only pay per ride until the technology is rolled out across the entire subway and bus system.

    That means weekly and monthly unlimited passes won’t be available in the beginning, but riders can still load them onto their MetroCards and swipe in as they currently do.

    If you have a Mastercard, you’re in luck — the company says it will refund cardholders for up to two subway rides bought through OMNY each Friday in June and July.

    When Will The MetroCard Disappear?

    The swipe-able subway pass will stick around in 2023. That’s when the MTA says all “comparable fare options” will be available through OMNY.