Getting Around in New York City

Written by Eric Erli

New York City is no stranger to visitors. There are multiple ways to get around in the greater New York City area, and plenty of resources available to ensure that commuters know what to expect. We have briefly detailed some of the most popular and convenient ways to get around in the world’s fastest-growing tech hotspot.


Taxiing is a simple and easy way to get from point A to B in New York City. Using a U.S. taxi is the same as using a taxi in any other country with the exception of new on-demand taxi app services. The most popular taxi apps in New York are Uber and Lyft. These services enable riders to hail cabs and set destinations right on their smartphones. To sign up for these services and create an account, personal and credit card information must be entered into the app. Once an account is made and the service is used, the app will charge the fare to the credit card on file.

Generally, using these taxi apps is cheaper than using regular cab services. However, Uber and Lyft reserve the right to raise prices during “Peak Hours,” times that the services are in high demand. During these hours, it may be wiser to use a traditional cab, such as the so-called “yellow cabs” in New York City. Costs can be reduced by taking an uberPool or Lyft Line, a shared car with other riders. However, the ride may take longer. Before sending the request, riders can easily see how much a ride will cost by using the apps, the Uber Estimate or Lyft Fare Estimator.

Car Sharing with Zipcar

Car sharing has become an increasingly popular means of transportation in the U.S. It grants the convenience of having a car without the commitment that comes with traditional rental cars. Both Silicon Valley and New York City support the car-sharing service Zipcar. Zipcar lets users reserve and pick up nearby available cars from any Zipcar parking spot, drive to their destination, and then drop the car off at a designated parking spot.

Foreign drivers hoping to use Zipcar need to keep some extra registration instructions in mind. International drivers must obtain a copy of their driving record. For German nationals, this is available at the Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt. Then they must email their documentation to After records are processed, an online application, which requires a one-time $25 application fee, must be completed. Once approved, a ‘Zipcard’ will be mailed within 3-7 business days. Zipcards can be used to lock and unlock the shared cars.

Cars can be reserved Monday to Thursday for around $8-10 an hour or $80-90 a day, weekend rates (Friday-Sunday) are around $12-15 an hour or $140-150 a day.

Bike Sharing with Citibike

If one is in New York, one can also utilize Citi Bike, a bike sharing system that is only available in New York. So if one doesn’t like sharing a car, they can easily hop on a bike. A lot of times, biking is one of the fastest ways to get around the city. Citi Bike parking stations can be seen throughout Manhattan and the outer boroughs.

Members use the Citi Bike app to locate the nearest available bike. They unlock the bike using a ride code given in the app. They can then ride to their destination and return the bike to the nearest station. Day Pass memberships are $12 for unlimited 30-minute rides in a 24-hour period, while a 3-Day Pass is $24 for a 24-hour period. An annual membership is the best value if you are a frequent user. It gives members unlimited 45-minute rides for $163 a year. Further plan details can be found on the Citi Bike website.

Public Transportation in New York City

Being the most populous city in the United States, New York City has a vast public transportation system, which includes one of the largest rail transportation systems in the world.

The NYC public transportation system includes:

A detailed map and time schedule for New York City’s subways and trains can be found on the website of the Metropolitan Transit Authority. In addition, there are transportation apps that are a huge help, as they show all possible public transport connections, walking paths, time schedules, etc. Two of the most popular and useful apps are Google Maps and Citymapper.

For an extended stay, it is recommended to purchase a 30-day unlimited ride MetroCard for $121.00 (there is an additional $1.00 for the purchase of a new MetroCard). This can be used on any New York City subway or PATH service. Note: The AirTrain and Commuter Rail require separate tickets, however, unlimited ride options are also available.

Lastly, if you live in Staten Island, you can use the Staten Island Ferry, which is free of charge, to commute to Manhattan. Further information, such as route and time schedule, can be found on the ferry bus website.