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admin 03.04.2014

NYC Insider Guide NYC Subway Map - FREE Manhattan Maps, Ride the Subway like a Pro! I have often complained about the transport system in London; how packed it is, and the length of time it takes to get anywhere.
Before I travelled to New York, I looked into the subway system and it looked quite simple on paper. When we arrived at JFK airport, we wandered around to the Air train platform to get our tickets to Howard Beach station, that would connect us to Brooklyn and the city. We waited for about 20 minutes before our train came to take us into Broadway Avenue, where we would change for our L line train to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Inside the train, again there were very little coherent announcements or a map to let you know what line you were on and what the stops were. Tickets, as shown above are made from card, they can be topped up (much like an Oyster card, in London), but have to be swiped through the barrier.
This reminded me of the days before the Oyster card system in London; were you had to use a paper ticket and get a travel pass. In London, they are doing away with these paper style tickets (only having them for mainland rail services), and encouraging visitors to get an Oyster card.
During busier periods, such as after work, this got quite difficult to manage, although New Yorkers didn’t seem annoyed with this, often if you were the only person coming in, they would give you right of way, and were very friendly and considerate. Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg was one of the very few stations that had a digital display board on the platform. Apart from at Penn Station, Grand Central and a select few stations we got to, there was no information, digital display boards or maps on the platform.

Sometimes there will be announcements up on the main ticket hall area that a train is coming in so many minutes time, but often, we stood there – wondering when the train will be arriving. As well as this, different train lines will also use the same platform, which we found confusing. The New York Subway; characterised by green paint on the railings, and very little else to make it stand out, or easy to find. The last thing we found really frustrating was the fact that a subway station was really hard to find.
Luckily the GPS on my phone was able to navigate us to the nearest metro, which I was really thankful for.
Overall, for a big city, we felt quite safe using the subway, although on one occasion where we were in the city until 1am, we missed our last L train, and had to go via another part of Brooklyn. When you get to Howard beach, you will meet some shady looking guys, who will offer to sell you a metro card (DON’T buy this!). These cards are then sold on, and often if you buy them, they may have no money or very little on there for what you need. We had 2 days left on our card, and if you have some days left too, you’re better off giving your card to a traveller at the terminal who is travelling into the city. It seemed that a one week MTA card, costing $31 would be the best way to use both subways and buses to get around. Often the barrier doesn’t read it correctly, and you are standing there getting frustrated. Even in London, not all underground stations have level access platforms, or lifts (elevators) to assist people in wheelchairs, or with luggage, but we found virtually every station we went to all had stairs, with the exception of Howard Beach station to the airport, and Broadway Avenue, where we changed.

However, unless you know the train route well (I think), there is no information anywhere to say what stops it will be calling at. Unlike in London, where there is a big red and white circular advert, brightly lit and easily recgonsible. We met some interesting and creepy characters, but I guess it is like that in any city; keep your wits about you at all times, and watch your belongings. What they do is they target tourists coming back to JFK, and ask if they have their metro card, and whether they are done with it, as it is likely that there will be some money left on it, or days of a travel pass. This made it easy when walking toward somewhere, and knowing if you were going in the right direction. The lines didn’t seem to complex, and I believed that New York, which appears to be quite a modern city, would have an easy transport system. Sometimes it did spit it out at you, and you had to try again, but it always seemed smoother, as you didn’t have to physically swipe. This made carrying suitcases a pain in the ass (which reminded me why I normally carry a rucksack when I travel). Sometimes, there will be an announcement (which is difficult to hear and understand), but little information on the trains.
In New York, you’ll be walking around for ages, and then come across a narrow set of stairs leading you to the subway.

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