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How to Ride the Bus

Welcome Tourists and Visitors

Where the Bus Stops

Planning a trip to New York?  Welcome! With a MetroCard farecard in hand, we'll help you acquaint yourself with the subways and buses so you can get around town like a New Yorker.  Read through this 'How to Ride' page first. Then visit our MetroCard City pages for airport information, sightseeing tips, and more so you can make the most of your trip and enjoy your stay in New York.

Bus fare is $2.75*, payable with MetroCard or exact change (no dollar bills). People 65 years or older and people with qualifying disabilities who show proper form of identification (including Reduced-Fare MetroCard or a Medicare card) are eligible for reduced fare.

* The cost of a SingleRide ticket is $3.00. Sold at vending machines only.

Where the Bus Stops

Bus stops are located at street corners and have a tall, round sign with a bus emblem and route number. Some stops have bus shelters. Most stops also include a "Guide-A-Ride," which is a rectangular box attached to the bus sign pole that displays a route map and bus schedule.

Boarding the Bus

Boarding the Bus

As the bus pulls up to the stop, be sure to read the destination sign on the front to check that the bus will take you where you want to go. Stay on the curb until your bus stops and the doors open. Some buses "kneel," or tilt down toward the curb, so that you can board more easily.

As you board the bus, hold the MetroCard with the black stripe on the right and the MetroCard name facing you. The farebox is directly in front of you as you board. Dip the MetroCard into the farebox. Your fare will be deducted automatically, and the MetroCard will pop back out.

All buses are accessible to customers who use wheelchairs.  To pay with a Reduced-Fare MetroCard, dip the card in the farebox with the stripe facing you.  To pay a reduced fare in cash, have identification and exact fare ready.  If you enter a bus via the rear door or center wheel lift, the operator will offer you a postage-paid, pre-addressed envelope to pay your fare.  If you use a wheelchair or an assistive device for ambulation and enter a bus that has a front door lift or ramp, pay the fare in coins or with a MetroCard.  If you can’t put coins or dip a MetroCard in the farebox, ask the operator for a fare envelope. Certain bus seats are reserved for people who use wheelchairs and must be relinquished upon the bus operator's request. These seats are clearly marked. Although some seats near the front do not have to be given to elderly persons, it's considerate to do so.

For Your Safety

Please keep your feet, packages and personal belongings out of the aisles. Please do not put your personal belongings on a seat that can be occupied, especially when the bus is crowded. When traveling with an infant and a baby stroller, the stroller should be folded before entering the bus and should remain folded for the duration of the trip.

Getting Off the Bus

Getting Off the Bus

Buses stop about every two or three blocks. Buses marked "Limited" make fewer stops. Push one of the tape strips located between the windows, one of the "stop" buttons found on grab bars of newer buses, to signal the driver to stop. Try to stay in your seat until the bus stops. Please use the rear door to exit so that other people can board the bus.

Do not stand in the stairwell while the bus is in motion. Once the bus has stopped, you'll see a green light over the rear door to indicate that it can be opened. In some buses, these doors swing open automatically if you press the yellow tape strip on the doors.

Making Connections

Making Connections

If you pay your fare with MetroCard, you may transfer free from local bus-to-subway, subway-to-local bus or local bus-to-local bus within two hours of the time you paid your fare. Unlimited Ride MetroCard includes all transfers free of charge. Please note that you cannot use an Unlimited Ride MetroCard on Express buses, unless you purchase a 7-day Express Bus Plus MetroCard.

Making Connections

If you pay your fare with coins (exact change, no pennies please), you may transfer free between buses with intersecting routes. Ask the bus driver for a transfer when you pay your fare. The transfer is a single-use MetroCard with a black strip along the bottom. When you catch your connecting bus, insert the transfer into the bus farebox - black stripe to the right side. Transfers are good for two hours from the time you paid your fare.

Late Night Request-A-Stop

Would you like your own personal bus stop?

With Request-A-Stop, you ask your bus operator to let you off at locations along the route that are not bus stops from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. If the operator can stop the bus safely at your requested stop, you will be let off the bus. Bus Operators will continue to make all regular stops. Please note that Request-A-Stop service is available on local bus routes, and on express routes (only when the bus is dropping off customers). Request-A-Stop service is not available on limited-stop bus service, Select Bus Service (SBS), the non-stop portion of express bus service, or shuttle bus service.

Express Buses

NYC operates approximately 61 express bus routes. Most express buses run on a schedule during weekday rush hours only. The express bus fare is $6.50. You can pay with Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard, 7-Day Express Bus Plus MetroCard or exact change in coins, but no pennies or bills, please. 

Travel Information

Plan your trip using TripPlanner or call 511, 24 hours/seven days a week. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, use your preferred relay service provider or the free 711 relay.