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English Language Institute Blog

How to Take the Subway in NYC

NYC subway

You have decided to study ESL in NYC. This is a great decision.

New York is an exciting city and one of the best places to learn English in America.

When you are here in New York, even if you live close enough to walk to your English language classes, or if you are studying at our Westchester campus and travelling into NYC, you will take the subway to get around the city. Everybody does.

Here are three tips for using the subway system, so that you will be like a local New Yorker.


#1 Buying a ticket

You will need a MetroCard.

You can buy them at machines in all subway stations using cash, a credit card or a debit card. Each MetroCard cost $1, so keep it and add money to it the next time you travel. A subway ride costs $2.75. It is the same price if you go one station or twenty stations.

You can Add Value to your card and buy multiple tickets at the same time or you can Add Time and buy a 7-day or 30-day pass for unlimited travel in that time period.


#2 Reading the subway map

taking nyc subway map Maps of the subway are available in all subway stations, and many subway trains. They are also available online. You can download an app that will plan your trip for you, but if you need to read a subway map, there are some things that are helpful to know.

Each subway station is written in big writing and below the station name there are small numbers and/ or letters. These are the numbers/ letters of the trains that stop at that station.


#3 Express and local trains

NYC subway system mapThere are local trains (they stop at every station) and express trains (they only stop at some station and are therefore faster than local trains).

When you look at the map, you will see some stations are small black circles and some are bigger white circles. The small black stations are only for local trains. The bigger white stations are for local and express trains.

Now you know this, you can easily buy tickets and use the subway system in NYC.


We look forward to having you take our English courses in New York at the English Language Institute. Contact the ELI for more information or to apply, visit our website.