LIVING IN NEW YORK | GETTING AROUND
The MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority) runs the public transportation in the city. The most common mode of public transit is by subway or bus but ferries also play an important part. With a MetroCard, the fare for a subway or local bus ride is $2.75. If you qualify for reduced fare, you can travel for half fare. Up to three children 44 inches tall and under ride for free on subways and local buses when accompanied by a fare-paying adult. Infants (under two years of age) ride express buses free if the child sits on the lap of the accompanying adult.
You can buy a variety of MetroCards depending on what suits you.
- Pay-Per-Ride (Regular) MetroCard
- Unlimited Ride MetroCard
- EasyPayXpress — a MetroCard that refills itself automatically (this is relatively new and hightly recommended)
Manhattan’s famous yellow taxi cabs (and Brooklyn’s green ones) are everywhere. Click here for information on taxis. Taxis (also called cabs) are a convenient way to get from place to place in the city. Surprisingly, they can be an affordable option when you have a group of people moving around together. A maximum of four passengers can ride in traditional cabs, there are also some five-passenger cabs that look more like minivans. A child fewer than seven is allowed to sits on a passenger's lap in the rear seat in addition to the passenger limit. A passenger is allowed to sit in the front seat with the driver when passengers have filled the rear or in the case of a passenger who cannot get into the rear of the cab.
Hailing a New York City Taxi
Hailing a cab is as simple as stepping off the curb and holding out your arm – it only gets complicated when you need to figure out why many New York taxis seem to drive by without stopping for you. The trick is in the lights atop the cab.
- When just the center is lit, highlighting the medallion number, the cab is available.
- When the medallion number as well as the side lamps are lit, the cab is off-duty.
- When no lights are lit, the cab already has a fare they are bringing to a destination.
What You Should Know About New York City Taxis
It is always more difficult to get a cab when it's raining, so sometimes it can be quicker (and you'll even get less drenched) if you head to the subway. Riders are entitled to make multiple stops in a single cab ride, though the meter will continue to run throughout the trip and payment will be required at the end of the trip. There is no limit to the number of stops you can request.
New York City is unique in the fact that you cannot pre-arrange a pickup by a New York taxi. If you want to call for a ride (rather than hail a cab) you will need to contact a New York City car or livery service.
“E-hail” services are booming in NYC and are increasingly popular with rides over the traditional taxi. With a variety of on-demand car services like Uber, Juno, Via, Lyft, and Gett, riders are able to hail a ride with a smartphone app as opposed to hailing a standard taxi. Prices are competitive and often lower, especially with the launch of carpooling options such as Via.
You live in NYC, and surprise, you likely don’t own a car! You bike, bus, subway, rides-share or walk when possible, but sometimes it's just nice to have your own wheels. With car-share programs you can reserve by the hour or day and run errands, visit friends, or venture out on a road trip. Spending the weekend in Montauk? Picking someone up from LaGuardia? Get the ins and outs of membership and hit the road. Here are some of the most popular car-share companies serving the NYC-area:
Did you know UN staff members can get special rates on some car rentals?
Enterprise Car Rental, National Car Rental and Alamo Car Rental have special rates for UN employees (as well as US government and military personnel). Book your car for both leisure and business using this link: www.partner.rentalcar.com/usgov/
Contact your spouse's HR office for the current discount codes
Note: Reserving a car for holidays and summer weekends can be difficult so plan ahead if possible. Depending on where you are going, you may also consider taking the train out of the city and renting at a smaller center as there is often better availability (and it can also be considerably cheaper).
There is no doubt you need to keep your wits about you but there is no better way to explore the city than on a bike. Happily for those of us who love getting around on 2-wheels, NYC is getting more and more bike-friendly. There are many designated bike paths (such as along the East and Hudson Rivers), segregated bike lanes (eg: Manhattan’s 9th Avenue), and hundred of shared lanes throughout the 5 Boroughs.
If you would like to get out on a bike but are a little rusty, consider getting in touch with the non-profit Bike New York, NYC’s leading proponent of cycling as a practical, sustainable, and healthy means of transportation and recreation. In addition to many other initiatives, they offer free bike education programs throughout the five boroughs, teaching kids and adults how to ride a bike safely and confidently in the city. Bike New York organizes numerous annual events, including the TD Five Boro Bike Tour (the largest charitable bike ride in the U.S.), Bike Expo New York, and smaller regional and community rides.
For those of you who don’t own a your own bike, Citi Bike is New York City's bike-sharing system and is intended to provide New Yorkers and visitors alike with an additional transportation option for getting around the city. Whether used for commuting or exploring, bike-sharing is fun, efficient and convenient. As in many other cities, NYC’s bike-sharing system consists of a fleet of specially designed, sturdy bikes that are locked into a network of docking stations situated at regular intervals around a city. Bikes can be rented from and then returned to any station in the system, creating an efficient network with many possible points and combinations of departure and arrival. With thousands of bikes at hundreds of stations, Citi Bike is available for use 24 hours a day, all year round. The station network provides twice as many docking points as bicycles, ensuring that an there will always be an available dock nearby when you need to return your bike.
Finding your Way
LinkNYC's Free Wi-Fi Kiosks
LinkNYC is a first-of-its-kind communications network that is replacing over 7,500 pay phones across the 5 boroughs with new structures called Links. Each Link kiosk will allow your device to access superfast, free public Wi-Fi, phone calls, device charging and a tablet for Internet browsing, access to city services, maps and directions. In Manhattan, LinkNYC kiosks are already active up 3rd and 8th avenues and more are being added all the time. Click here for active LinkNYC locations. Visit www.linknyc.com for more information.