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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tips for Riding the New York City Subway

The New York City Subway is a fast, affordable way to get around New York City. Read these tips for riding the New York City Subway and you'll be traveling around New York City like a local New Yorker in no time.

1. Finding Subway Entrances
Entrances are typically located on street corners with a staircase for 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.

2. How Free Transfers Work
A MetroCard allows one free transfer within 2 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).

3. Maps in Subway Stations
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.

4. Know what a station entrance looks like
Entrances that are always open have green lights, known as "Globe Lamps." Exit only or part-time entrances have red globe lamps, or may not have any lamps at all. Some private properties have subway entrances. However, some entrances are within private properties, and these entrances are not always visible from the outside. Also noting, some entrances are mono-directional, meaning that they only serve an entrance to a platform for boarding trains to one destination. This usually happens at stations without an underpass or overpass to transfer to the opposite platform for return service. There are some exceptions to this, as unlabeled overpasses and underpasses are present (like Bleecker Street on the (6)).

5. Check The Sign Before You Swipe
At many Subway stations, there are separate entrances for trains running uptown and downtown. Make sure you have the appropriate fare. The current fare is $2.50 when using a Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard ($2.75 for a "SingleRide" Ticket: Valid for ONE (1) ride within two (2) hours purchase with no out-of-system transfer to a bus). 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. You can also ask an attendant for help if you're confused about where to enter.

6. Don't block the door
Before boarding your train, wait for the disembarking passengers to fully egress before you enter the subway car. People will get very angry if you block their way getting off the train. If you are wearing a bag or pack, remove it from your back or shoulder and carry it in your hands in frony of you. This will make more room in the car for the other passengers.

7. Hold On
If you don't get a seat, make sure you find a pole to hold when the train begins to move -- it is difficult to keep steady without holding on when the subway starts and stops, as it is 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. Remember to give up your seat as a courtesy to elderly, pregnant, or disabled passengers. Special "Priority Seating" at both ends of a subway car require to be free when an elderly or disabled passenger boards the train.

8. Don't Lean on the Poles
Just because you're tired, it doesn't mean it's alright to lean up against a pole in the subway car. When someone leans on the poles, it makes it difficult for other folks to hold on when the train is moving.

9. Avoid staring or making prolonged eye contact with another passenger
Avoid looking other passengers directly in the eye for more than an instant. Staring at other passengers will be seen as a sign of aggression, and you may get an aggressive response. It is also likely that the person you're staring at will be very creeped out.

10. 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.

11. Move To The Center of the Car
When trains are crowded, it is 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.

12. 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.

13. MetroCard issue
If your MetroCard won't read for some reason, try the other turnstiles after several failed attempts on the first. Ask the Station Agent for help if one is available in the area. If there is none, run your fingers along the black strip to make sure there are no bends and try again...eventually, either someone may swipe you through or else you should give up and get another MetroCard until you can speak to an agent. If the station agent can't help, they will provide you with an envelope (Business Reply Envelope: BRE) to mail in the card. Allow 4 to 6 weeks for the MetroCard to be processed. For faster service visit the MetroCard Customer Service Center located downtown Manhattan at 3 Stone Street between Whitehall Street and Broad Street. MetroCards are very fragile. Bending, heating, or getting them wet will damage or ruin them. If your card doesn't work after several tries, take it to the station agent and request a replacement. MetroCards are magnetic. Do not place them near any electronic device (Phone, MP3 player, etc.) or magnet as this may demagnetize the MetroCard, resulting in the turnstile not clicking when you insert your MetroCard into the turnstile. If your Metrocard has been demagnetized, see the station agent or a NYC Transit Officer. If the station agent cannot do anything about that card, a Business Reply Envelope will be given for you to mail your MetroCard in.

14. Too much MetroCard
Have a lot of MetroCards with money on them? If they are "PREVALUED" or "FULL FARE" cards (not Unlimited-Ride) and they all have money on them, you may bring up to 7 cards at a time to a station booth and ask the station agent to combine the cards. The final card you give the station agent will be the one with all of the money from the other cards.

15. Don't stand on the left side of the escalator
When getting on an escalator, remember: if you intend on standing, stay on the right. Leave the left clear for those who want to climb up or down.

16. Ask for directions
If you're not sure of where to go, ask somebody! Don't be afraid to ask strangers for directions. Most New Yorkers are don't mind helping others out so just ask and in general, many New Yorkers are very polite people and willing to help.

17. Trust your instinct
If you feel uncomfortable due to another rider(s), trust your gut instinct and move to the last door of the car. When the train arrives at the next station, get out of that car and into the next car. DO NOT GO BETWEEN CARS. It is dangerous and against the law.

18. Train time frequency
You only get about 20 seconds to get on a train. Holding the doors of the train car is prohibited. If the train doors close as you get to the train, just get on the next train. Headways range from 7-10 minutes during rush-hours, 15 minutes during weekends, and up to 30 minutes during late-nights. Be sure that the train you will be boarding is the same line and direction. Multiple trains of varying lines may stop at a single platform.

19. How much MetroCard load to buy
It's best to purchase an Unlimited-Ride time limit of 7-days ($30) if you will be taking 12 or more rides during your stay (day passes are no longer sold). It will save you money. You can use your MetroCard both in subway & busses. Take some extra money for emergencies. This is always a good idea if you're going to be in any big city, and even if you won't be riding the subway. The city is a nice place, but there is crime there and someone might steal your money. To be safe, keep an extra $20–$50 in a very safe place, such as your shoe, inside your shirt, or in your bra.

20. Riding late at night
If you are riding late at night, try to find a populated car—ideally the conductor's car (the conductor is almost always in the middle of the train (the 5th car from the front in an 8 car train and the 6th car from the front in a 10 car train), but some lines have the conductor in the front car or the back car). Some lines might only have the driver that opens and closes the doors, especially during "off-hours."

21. If you see something, say something
Don't place your bags or packages on an empty seat even if the train is empty. NYC Transit Police will issue tickets for that (following the campaign "If you see something, say something"). You will find yourself with a court appearance and can expect to pay up to a $500 fine.

22. Download at least two subway apps
Here's the link where to find complete list of MTA approved apps http://www.mta.info/apps/

Thank you for reading & enjoy New York!


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