Tips for riding
Masks are required when you ride with us. If you need one, ask at a subway station booth or look for mask dispensers on buses.
Subway service is suspended from 1-5 a.m. while we disinfect trains and stations. We run enhanced bus service during this time.
Waiting for your train
Stand back from the platform edge, especially when trains are entering and leaving the station.
Don’t go onto the tracks for any reason. If you drop something on the tracks, leave it and let an MTA employee know. We’ll do our best to help retrieve it.
Board at the center of the train if you’re using a personal mobility device or traveling with a stroller. The conductor is usually at the center of the train, making it easier to get attention in case of problem.
Boarding and riding
Let others exit the train before you board. Stand to the side of the doors before you board, not in front of them.
Move to the center of the car (even when it’s crowded). It makes service faster for everyone.
Hold on when the train is moving.
Keep bags and personal items where you can see them.
Make room for others. Be aware of the space around you, especially during busy travel times.
Exiting trains and navigating stations
Don’t hold train doors open. It delays service for everyone.
Fold strollers and carry children on stairs and escalators. Strap children in snugly at all other times.
Ask any MTA employee for help when you need it. You can also use the Help Point intercom on station platforms.
Riders Waiting at Subway Platform
About subway fares and free transfers
Riding the subway costs $2.75 for most riders. If you’re going to be riding often, an unlimited card might save you money.
We have reduced-fare options for people 65 and older, people with disabilities, and low-income New Yorkers.
How to pay the subway fare
Using a MetroCard
Hold the card so the black magnetic strip is facing you and on the bottom of the card. (The clipped corner should be on the upper right.) Swipe your card through the reader at a medium speed, similar to how you would swipe a credit card in a credit card reader. When the turnstile screen says GO, proceed through the turnstile.
- Pay for multiple people: Swipe your pay-per-ride card up to four times at the turnstile to pay the fare for each person
- Swipe it forward: You can use your unlimited card to pay for someone else’s fare at no extra cost, as long as you don’t accept money for the swipe.
Note: You cannot use an unlimited MetroCard within 18 minutes of swiping it.
Using a digital wallet or contactless card
We’re rolling out OMNY, a contactless fare system, throughout the system.
Tap your contactless card or smart device at the OMNY reader on the turnstile. It doesn’t matter which way the card or device is facing. When the reader shows GO, proceed through the turnstile.
You need to set up your device for contactless payment before you can use it with OMNY.
Finding stations and trains
- Subway stations are usually on corners of streets. Look for green metal railings near entrances and exits. Many also have green globe lamps.
- Some stations are in the middle of blocks, near business entrances, incorporated inside buildings, along parks, or otherwise tucked away, so look closely.
- Black and white signs at the entrance tell you what lines the stop serves and which direction trains go. Some stations have trains that go in both directions. Some only have trains going in one direction.
- Once you’re inside the station, signs direct you to the platform. All of these signs have arrows showing which way to go.
- Many stations have booths near the turnstiles. You can ask the station agent for help if you need it.
- Each train has a bullet — a colored circle or diamond with a white letter or number inside — that indicates what route the train runs. These are on the front and side of trains.
- To see what direction a train is going, look for black and white signs on the platform, parallel to the tracks. These have direction indicators, like “uptown,” “downtown,” “Brooklyn-bound,” “Bronx-bound,” etc. Listen for announcements as the train doors open as well.
- Local trains stop at every stop. Express trains skip stops. Maps show local and express stops, and train announcements will say whether the train is local or express.
- Ask the train conductor if you have questions. They sit in the middle of the train. To easily find where the conductor will be when the train stops, look for a diagonally striped black and white sign on the platform, parallel to the tracks.
What to do if...
- ...you lost something
- ...you see a crime in progress
Tell an MTA employee or police officer or call 911 immediately.
If you’re in a station, you can also use a Help Point intercom.
Read more about what to do if you see a hate crime.
- ...you need help planning a trip
Talk to an MTA employee, dial 511, use our trip planner, or download the MYmta app.
- ...you miss your stop
Stay on the train until you reach a station where you can transfer to a train going in the opposite direction. Take that train back to the stop you missed.
If you need help, ask an MTA employee.
Things you can and can’t bring on the subway
Don’t travel with more than you can carry on your own, and avoid rush hour if you’re transporting something big. Make space for other riders and don’t block doors, stairs, or passageways.
This is not a comprehensive list of what you are and are not allowed to bring on the subway. Find all details in our Rules of Conduct.
You can bring...
Personal mobility devices. Wheelchairs, canes, walkers, scooters and the like are allowed at all times.
Dogs and other animals. They must be in a bag or other container and carried in a way that doesn’t annoy other riders. Service animals and working animals with law enforcement agencies are allowed at all times.
Bikes. Avoid rush hour.
Strollers. Strollers are allowed as long as you’re using them to transport children.
Boxes, packages, and small furniture. Don’t transport large items during rush hour.
You can’t bring...
Motorcycles and other motorized vehicles. Personal mobility devices like motorized scooters are allowed, however.
Large wheeled carts. Carts that are larger than 30 inches in length or width are not allowed.
Anything that is so long it sticks out of a subway window or door.
Items that could be a hazard, interfere with MTA operations, or block traffic. Your safety is our biggest priority.
On the subway
Read our guide to navigating trains and stations with mobility aids and other assistive tools.
With Access-A-Ride, our paratransit service
If you have a disability that prevents you from using the subway or bus, you might be eligible for our paratransit service.
About the New York City subway
The New York City subway system has:
- 22 lines, not counting permanent shuttle service
- 472 stations
- More than 665 miles of track. Laid end to end, our tracks would stretch from New York City to Chicago.