NYC Airports to Manhattan Transportation FAQ

In the New York City Forum on FlyerTalk.com we get a lot of questions about the "best" way to get from each airport to various parts of Manhattan. This page is a wiki for forum regulars to assemble our best advice on one big page. While we will make an effort to keep the information current, always double-check fares and schedules against the official websites of the airports and transit authorities. We will provide links to make that as easy as possible.

Please note that the official airport pages contain a wealth of information about ground transportation options. This page is not designed to rehash that information, but to provide further background on the pros/cons of the various ways of getting from the airport to Manhattan and back.

Also please note that if you plan to take any subways, you should always check MTA Service Advisories for the trains you plan to take--especially if you are traveling on a weekend when they sometimes reroute trains while they make track repairs and improvements.

Some general links:


Which is the "best" airport?

There are pros and cons to each airport. LaGuardia Airport (LGA) is closest to Manhattan, and therefore offers the cheapest (and usually fastest) taxi or public transit ride. The AirTrain services to Newark International Airport (EWR) and John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) made them much more convenient than they were in the past, however, and LGA has no transcontinental or intercontinental flights, so many travelers have to connect to get to LGA. EWR is convenient to Lower Manhattan and the West Side via the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels and the NJ commuter trains. JFK is convenient to Long Island and Brooklyn/Queens. Other factors, such as flight frequencies, fares, flight reliability, and airline preferences will also play into your decision.

Less convenient to the city, but good for certain suburbs are HPN (White Plains, NY--convenient to Westchester and Putnam Counties in NY and Fairfield County in CT), ISP (Islip, NY--convenient to Long Island), SWF (Stewart Airport in Newburgh, NY--convenient to the Hudson Valley), and TTN (Trenton-Mercer Airport in Ewing, NJ -- convenient to Central NJ).

Subways, buses, and Metrocards

Note - This section is meant to avoid repetition in the article; it is not a complete description and some details have been simplified.

Metrocards (which can be used on the subway system and on buses in the city) can hold "time" and/or "value". They can be purchased in subway stations (additional $1 fee applies) or purchased preloaded at some merchants such as newsstands (no additional fee applies). They can be refilled with time and/or value at subway stations (no additional fee applies) and used until the final expiration date marked on the card.

Time can be purchased for $30 (7 days) or $112 (30 days). For this purpose, "days" are calendar days starting with the calendar day of first use. There is no limit to the number of times the card may be used in that period, but between two uses of the card at the same subway station or on the same bus route, a lockout period of at least 18 minutes (more at some stations) applies.

When filling or refilling a card with value with at least $5, a 5% bonus is applied. When using a Metrocard that does not have time on it, the $2.50 fare will be deducted from the value. This fare comes with one free transfer (must be used within 2 hours), between bus-subway, subway-bus, or bus-bus on different routes. (For free transfers within the subway system, stay within the fare control zone so that the card does not have to be swiped again.) Up to four people traveling together can use a card (with sufficient value to pay all fares); use the card once per fare when first entering the system, and then use it once when transferring (the correct number of transfers will be allowed).

To enter the subway system, swipe a valid Metrocard at the turnstile - a card with time remaining, with sufficient value, or with a valid transfer, or else a Single-Ride ticket (can be purchased at stations for $2.75). To pay for buses, use a valid Metrocard (a card with time remaining, with sufficient value, or with a valid transfer), or else pay with cash (nickels, dimes, quarters and dollar coins only; ask the driver for a transfer to another bus if you will need it).

LaGuardia (LGA) to Manhattan

LaGuardia Airport is located in the Borough of Queens, which is part of New York City. It is geographically the closest airport to Manhattan but requires transportation by bus, taxi or shared van for at least part of your trip, since there is no rail service directly serving the airport.

The Official LGA Ground Transportation page lists all the major airport transportation options.

Most convenient: taxi

The most convenient way to get from LGA to most parts of Manhattan is simply hopping in a taxi outside your terminal and telling the driver where you want to go.

How much does a taxi cost?

Taxis to/from LGA bill according to their meter (see details of the billing structure here. Expect to pay $20-40, depending on where in Manhattan you want to go, what route you take, and how bad traffic is. Taxis can hold up to 4 passengers (5 in minivan taxis) and generally have pretty big trunks that can hold quite a lot of luggage. The quickest routes from LGA to Manhattan often involve a toll, which should not be more than $5.33 (the discounted rate for EZ Pass, which is required to be used in taxis). It is also customary to tip 15-20% on the base fare (not including any toll) unless service was poor.

Note that if you are in (or can assemble) a group going to different destinations in Manhattan, there is also a "group riding plan" available where each person pays a flat fare ($7.50-$9.50, plus tip) based on their location in Manhattan. This is one of the only exceptions to the "no charge for additional passengers" rule. This will be much cheaper than each person taking his/her own cab, but will take longer. However even though this plan is listed in Section 1-71 of the Taxicab Owner's Rules (pdf), some cab drivers may not know about it. [Note: this information appears to be out of date.]

How long does a taxi take?

This depends greatly on your specific destination and the traffic. It can take anywhere from 15-20 minutes (to Midtown or the UES/UWS with no traffic) to well over an hour.

Should I tell the taxi driver a particular route?

Many cab drivers these days are honest and will take you via a reasonable efficient route to your destination. It's often fine (and often a good idea) to trust your cab driver to choose a good route. Though the movie stereotype of being driven around in circles doesn't happen often, it is quite common however for drivers to choose a longer route to earn an additional fare, especially if the rider fits the profile of a tourist on their first visit.

On often noted exception to that rule is the Queensboro Bridge (aka the 59th Street Bridge). For destinations between 59th and 79th (the "lower" parts of the UWS and UES), some Flyertalkers prefer the Queensboro, while cab drivers will usually take the Triboro unless you request the Queensboro. And for destinations between 42nd and 59th (i.e., most of Midtown), many Flyertalkers prefer the Queensboro, but cab drivers often prefer the Midtown Tunnel.

The Queensboro Bridge vs. Triboro Bridge/Midtown Tunnel debate exists because the Queensboro is more direct (reducing the taxi fare by a few dollars as long as you don't get caught in traffic) and does not have the toll ($5.33 with EZ pass, which is required to be used in taxis) of the Triboro Bridge or Midtown Tunnel. Consequently, a taxi via the Queensboro can cost up to $10 less than a taxi via the Triboro to some parts of Midtown. The Queensboro can get horribly backed up, however, and there are no highways directly linking the Queensboro to/from LGA, requiring your driver to navigate the streets of Queens between LGA and the Queensboro, which are generally slow. Even when traffic is light on the Queensboro route, going via the Triboro can save 5-10 minutes. Note also that many cab drivers dislike the Queensboro route, because it is slower and doesn't make as much money. But if you ask for it, they have to take you that way. For a lively debate on this subject, see this thread.

What should I do if I have a complaint about a driver?

Call 311 from any phone in New York City (212-NEW-YORK from outside NYC) and ask for the Taxi and Limousine Commission or on line at www.nyc.gov/tlc. You do not have to appear in person at a hearing on a complaint. You can arrange to be present by telephone.

What about car services?

Many LGA regulars prefer taxis to car services because taxis are almost always cheaper and usually get you away from the airport faster. The cheap car services usually don't wait for you with a little sign with your name. You have to call them when you arrive to get a car number, then go find the car outside, which can take a while. The more expensive car services (which are significantly more expensive than taxis) often require you to (1) find your driver near the baggage claim and (2) walk with him or her out to a parked car that can sometimes be in a fairly remote lot. While the fancier car services provide a nice plush ride, most of us would prefer to just get to our destination as quickly as possible, and except for those days when the taxi queues get super-long, a taxi is usually fastest.

Fastest at Rush Hour: Taxi + Subway

At off-peak times (late at night, weekends, etc.), taking a taxi the whole way (either to or from LGA) is usually fastest (often under 30 minutes). But as you get closer to Manhattan on weekdays, traffic often gets worse, and there are times when it can take well over an hour to get between LGA and even the closest parts of Manhattan.

At peak traffic times, therefore, you can actually save both time and money by taking a taxi part of the way and a subway the rest of the way, since subways tend to run very close to schedule even at the busiest times of the day.

How much does taxi + subway cost?

The regular subway fare is $2.50 per ride on a Metrocard, but see Subways, buses, and Metrocards for further details.

A taxi between LGA and Jackson Heights or Astoria should cost about $12 or less (determined by the meter). A livery cab from Jackson Heights to LGA should be $12 (as of summer 2006), which is negotiated between the driver and passenger before starting out (see below).

How do I take a taxi + subway from LGA to Manhattan?

From LGA, you should get in a taxi and ask to go to Roosevelt Ave and Broadway in the Jackson Heights section of Queens. From the subway station at that intersection, you can get the 7, E, F or R trains (or V train on weekdays), which will take you almost anywhere in Manhattan either directly or by changing to another train (see the official MTA subway map). The scheduled travel time to the first stop in Manhattan ranges from 11 to 20 minutes, depending upon which train you take.

An alternative is to take a taxi to Astoria Blvd and 31st Street in the Astoria Section of Queens. There you can get the N train (or W train on weekdays), which also goes to Manhattan. The scheduled travel time to the first stop in Manhattan (Lexington Avenue and 59th Street) is about 13 minutes.

Yet another alternative is to take a taxi to Roosevelt Avenue and Junction Boulevard in the Corona section of Queens. The subway station at that intersection is the closest to LGA's Central Terminal Building. From Junction Boulevard station, you can take the #7 local or express trains to Manhattan on weekday mornings. (At other times, only the #7 local operates.) The scheduled travel time to the first stop in Manhattan, Grand Central Station (East 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan), is less than 25 minutes with either the local or the express; from Grand Central, the #7 train continues to Fifth Avenue/42nd Street, and Times Square, where the line terminates. Although the subway travel time from this station to Manhattan is a few minutes longer than from the other two stations, the taxi ride to the station should be shorter (and cheaper).

One other note: if taking a taxi from LGA to the subway, some cab drivers may give you a hard time. Taxi drivers often wait an hour or more for a chance to pick someone up at LGA in the hopes of scoring a $20-30 fare into Manhattan. When you ask them to take you to a subway that's only a $5-10 fare away, they may get grumpy. They are required, however, to take you where you want by the route you request.

How do I take the subway + taxi from Manhattan to LGA?

From Manhattan, you should take the E, F or R (or M on weekdays) to the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Ave stop, or the 7 train to the 74th St-Broadway stop (the two stops are connected). In Jackson Heights, yellow cabs are often hard to find. But there are almost always livery cabs available (usually older Lincoln Town Cars), which are licensed and regulated by the T&LC. (Theoretically the license is only for phone-dispatch service, not to pick up street hails, but since yellow cabs do not serve these areas, the officials tolerate and accept the livery cabs' "off-license" work.) Make sure the car has a license plate that says "livery" or "T&LC" at the bottom, and agree on the fare with the driver BEFORE you start going, as these cars do not have meters. As of summer 2006, the going rate from Jackson Heights to LGA in a livery cab was consistently $12.

An alternative is to take the N (or Q on weekdays) to the Astoria Blvd stop. This stop is right on Hoyt Ave, the frontage road for Grand Central Parkway --- which is the main drag between Manhattan (Triborough Bridge) and LGA. You won't find many (empty) cabs coming off the bridge headed toward LGA. However, empty cabs can easily be found going the other way, right before they get on the freeway. The trick is to hail the cab on the Manhattan-bound (north) side of the road, in front of the Neptune Diner. Cab drivers are more than happy to turn around and collect another fare to LGA before heading back into town. This option is generally cheaper than the cab from Jackson Heights. Total time from Midtown to LGA is about 45 minutes, and rush hour traffic is generally not a problem: both faster and cheaper than the bus from 42nd St.

Cheapest: Bus + Subway

The cheapest way to get between LGA and Manhattan is to take the bus in combination with the subway (or just the bus if you're going to certain parts of Harlem or Morningside Heights).

There are four buses to know: the M60, the Q70 (which replaced the Q33 in 2013), the Q47, and the Q72. Click the links for current schedules for each bus, but remember that schedules are approximate.

Note that while the M60 stops at every terminal, neither the Q70 nor the Q72 serves the Marine Air Terminal, and the Q47 serves only the Marine Air Terminal. The Marine Air Terminal has very few flights (as of Fall 2013 only Delta Shuttle flights to/from BOS, DCA and ORD).

How much does a bus + subway cost and how do I pay?

The basic bus or subway fare in NYC is $2.50 on a Metrocard, which includes a free transfer; see Subways, buses, and Metrocards for further details. (If you use coins on the bus, you can get a paper transfer to another bus, but you'll need to pay again to transfer to the subway.)

On the M60 (a "Select Bus Service" route) pay before boarding at fare machines located at each stop; retain the resulting ticket for possible inspection and board the bus through any door. For other routes, board and pay at the front of the bus.

Metrocards are sold at most newsstands at LGA, but not on the bus. As of 2009, a couple Metrocard vending machines that take credit/debit cards (no cash) have also been installed inside the Central Terminal on the lower level just inside from the main bus stop. If you are at another terminal, however, start asking at the first newsstand you see when you get off your plane, since occasionally the newsstands near the baggage claims run out of Metrocards.

Where do I find the bus at LGA?

Follow signs at your terminal to ground transportation and look for signs for public buses. There is at least one bus stop outside each terminal.

Where do the buses go?

The M60 travels west from LGA along Astoria Blvd, then crosses the Triboro Bridge to Manhattan and continues west on 125th St to Amsterdam Ave. From Amsterdam it turns on 120th to Broadway, and then turns on Broadway to its terminus at 106th St. The M60 can therefore take you directly to destinations along the 125th St corridor in Harlem or in the Columbia University neighborhood of Morningside Heights.

Available subway transfers from the M60 include the N train (and Q on weekdays) at Astoria Blvd and 31st St in Astoria, Queens, the 4/5/6 trains at Lexington Ave and 125th St in Harlem, Manhattan, the 2/3 trains at Lenox/6th Ave and 125th St in Harlem, the A/C/D trains (and B on weekdays) at St. Nicholas Ave and 125th St in Harlem, and the 1 train at 116th St and Broadway in Morningside Heights.

The Q70 and Q47 both run to the Jackson Heights 74th Street bus terminal. From the bus terminal, there are easy signs pointing you to the 7 (local only), E, F and R trains (and M trains on weekdays only), all of which go to Manhattan. The Q70 continues to the Long Island Railroad station in Woodside, which is also served by the 7 local and express trains. Note that the Q70 is a new "limited" service as of 2013 (replacing the slower Q33, which no longer serves LGA) and is likely to be the fastest option if the subways to which it connects will get you to your destination.

The Q72 terminates in Rego Park, at the 63rd Drive/Queens Boulevard subway station, served by the R (and, on weekdays only, M) trains. But the Q72 also stops at the Junction Boulevard (elevated) subway station, served by the #7 train.

Take a look at the subway map to see which train will get you closest to your destination in Manhattan. If you are traveling from the Delta/Northwest, USAir, or Central Terminal at LGA to midtown Manhattan, you may just want to board the first local bus that comes along (i.e., M60 or Q70, or perhaps Q72), and transfer to the subway at the appropriate connecting point. Bear in mind the need, when using the M60, to buy the ticket before boarding. As the Q72 is slower than the Q70 and connects to the subway further from Manhattan, it will rarely be useful.

How do I get to LGA from Manhattan via subway + bus?

If you're near the M60 route in Morningside Heights or Harlem, you can simply get on the M60 and go straight to LGA.

If you're in another neighborhood, you can take the E/F/R/M to the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Ave stop and look for signs for the Q70 or Q47. You can take the 7 to the 61st St-Woodside stop and look for signs for the Q70 (or to 74th St-Broadway if you need the Q47, although note that only "local" 7 trains stop there). You can take the N/Q to the Astoria Blvd stop and follow signs to the M60. You can take the A/B/C/D/2/3/4/5/6 to 125th St and find the M60 stop on the south side of 125th St. Or you can take the 1 train to the 116th St stop and find the M60 stop on the east side of Broadway.

Transfers from subway-to-bus work the same as bus-to-subway. If you transfer within two hours of your initial Metrocard swipe, you won't be charged again.

Other Options: Shared Vans, NYC Airporter Bus, Hertz on Demand

The Official LGA Ground Transportation page lists a couple other services worth considering.

Shared Vans

Shared van services like SuperShuttle and Airlink are mainly useful in two situations:

  1. You have more than 4 people (the max that can fit in a taxi) and you want to ride together.
  2. You are traveling solo and think you'll have trouble handling your luggage on the subways and buses (which generally involve stairs and can get quite crowded) or you want door-to-door service for some other reason, but you simply can't afford a taxi.

The problems with shared vans are that you have to wait for them to fill up before they leave, and they can make up to a dozen stops at other riders' destinations before taking you to your destination, making it take forever to get where you're going (or requiring them to pick you up super early if you're headed to the airport). There's also traffic to worry about.

The bus + subway option is far cheaper than shared vans and is usually faster (because of traffic). A taxi isn't that much more expensive and is always faster.

NYC Airporter Bus

There is also the NYC Airporter bus to Grand Central Terminal, the Port Authority Bus Terminal and Penn Station. The bus generally runs every 30 minutes (see the schedule in the link above) and costs a half to a third of what a taxi costs, but significantly more than the public bus + subway. It's mainly useful if you are headed to one of these transit hubs and don't want to deal with public buses and subway transfers. Note, however, that the same bus goes first to GCT, then to the PABT, and finally to Penn, so it can take quite a while to get to Penn Station, and because it's a large bus, it can be even more vulnerable to traffic than a taxi.

Note that this service replaced the old NY Airport Service, which lost its contract to serve JFK and LGA.

Hertz Special One-Way Rates

As of April 2012, Hertz offers two special rates for one-way rentals between LGA and Manhattan or vice versa. If you are arriving at LGA on Thursday or Friday, or departing from LGA on Sunday or Monday, there is a 24 hour rate that costs as little as $23 (plus taxes, fees, gas, tolls, etc.).

Their affiliate Hertz on Demand also offers relatively inexpensive one way rentals between JFK and select locations in Manhattan. HoD requires a separate (free) membership. See their site for details.

Note that in general we strongly advise NYC visitors against renting a car unless you need to spend time in the suburbs. A car in Manhattan is a liability--not an asset. Driving in NYC is extremely different from driving anywhere else in the US, plus you have to pay for any tolls, parking (upwards of $50 a day in many lots) and gas. For LGA, these rates also aren't all that much better than simply taking a taxi, and are a lot more trouble.

John F. Kennedy (JFK) to Manhattan

JFK Airport is located in the Borough of Queens, which is part of New York City. It is quite far from Manhattan, but the opening of the AirTrain has made JFK much more convenient by providing efficient connections between JFK and the NYC Subway and the Long Island Railroad.

The Official JFK Ground Transportation page lists all the major airport transportation options.

Most Convenient: Taxi

Taxi can be a very convenient way to get between JFK and Manhattan, but it is not cheap and can get very delayed by traffic. There are two major traffic bottlenecks: the East River, separating Manhattan from Brooklyn and Queens, and the Van Wyck Expressway, which is the main artery leading to JFK.

How much does a taxi cost?

As of September, 2012, taxis between JFK and anywhere in Manhattan are a flat $52 fare + $0.50 surcharge + any toll and tip in either direction. The toll shouldn't be more than $5.33 with EZ Pass, which is required to be used in taxis. It is customary to tip 15-20% for good service. See details of the taxi billing structure (http://www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/html/passenger/taxicab_rate.shtml here]).

Taxis can hold up to 4 passengers (5 in minivan taxis) and generally have pretty big trunks that can hold quite a lot of luggage.

How long does a taxi take?

The time it takes a taxi depends on the route selected by you (or the driver) and how much traffic there is along that route. There are a number of possibilities for getting between JFK and Manhattan, and the most direct route to your destination may not be the fastest due to traffic. Drivers usually have good instincts about which routes to avoid, or you can ask if they've heard the traffic report recently.

Time to Manhattan can range from 20 minutes (if no traffic and you're travelling the most direct route) to over 2 hours (if the route you take is jammed).

What about car services?

The luxury car services, where the driver waits for you near the baggage claim area, have the disadvantage that you have to walk out to the parking lot where the car is parked. Because of ongonig construction at the American Airlines terminal (T8-9), parking is limited and the driver will have to meet you curbside, as opposed to at baggage claim. [September 2006]

The less expensive services require you to make a reservation in advance, and the car will park somewhere other than the airport parking lot. Once you've gotten your baggage, you call the car service with your location and the dispatcher will direct the driver to you. This may take 15 minutes (or more if there's traffic).

They are typically more expensive than taxis.

Fastest at rush hour: AirTrain + LIRR

The Van Wyck Expressway at rush hour = fuhgetaboutit (as they say in Brooklyn). Unless you want door-to-door service (i.e., your bags are difficult to roll around), you are much better off taking the AirTrain to Jamaica and taking the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) from Jamaica to Penn Station in Manhattan.

Official AirTrain JFK site LIRR schedules

How much does the AirTrain + LIRR cost and how do I pay?

The AirTrain costs $5 per person per ride, payable from a Metrocard with sufficient value. A ten-trip AirTrain MetroCard, valid for six months, is also available for $25 (cannot be used on subways or buses). If you are traveling on AirTrain with a group, consider purchasing the ten-trip, since it can be used by each member of your group.

The LIRR costs $4.00-$9.50 between Jamaica and Manhattan, depending on the time of day and day or week. Peak fares are $9.50 each way, and are for weekday travel on trains scheduled to arrive in Penn Station between 6 and 10 AM or depart Penn Station between 4 and 8 PM. Off-peak fares are $7.00 each way, and are for travel on all weekday trains other than peak trains. The online schedules will display whether a train is peak or off-peak, as will the departure board in the stations. (The published times above are approximate - specifically, there are trains leaving at 4:01p and 4:04p that are considered off-peak, so check the schedules.) On weekends, you can use a $4.00 "CityTicket" on the LIRR between Jamaica and NY Penn Station or Atlantic Terminal. CityTickets are purchased via their own option (they will not show up if you select Jamaica to NY Penn) on the ticket vending machines, and are valid only on the same day it is purchased.

Be aware that there are two westbound services from Jamaica: trains to Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan, and trains to Atlantic Terminal (formerly Flatbush Avenue) in Downtown Brooklyn. Atlantic Terminal service may be more convenient if your destination is Lower Manhattan, but you'll need to transfer to a subway line (2 3 4 5 M or R lines) which will add an additional 5-10 minutes and will require an additional $2.50 subway fare (you can use the same MetroCard you paid your AirTrain fare with).

When heading to JFK, you can purchase your LIRR ticket at any LIRR ticket vending machine (TVM) in Penn Station. When heading from JFK, you can purchase your LIRR ticket at the TVMs in the AirTrain station. There are several located before you go through the AirTrain turnstyles, on the right-hand side, to the right of the Metrocard vending machines.

TVMs accept bills up to $50, coins, and credit/debit cards. They only give change in coins, however, and only up to $17.75, so using big bill for a cheap ticket is a bad idea unless you don't mind carrying around a lot of coins.

Most LIRR TVMs will also give you the option to add a MetroCard to your ticket, to pay for AirTrain, subway, and/or bus rides. When coming into the city for a few days, this may be a good option. See Subways, buses, and Metrocards for further details. Your LIRR ticket will be "printed" on the back of the MetroCard.

How long does the AirTrain + LIRR take?

The AirTrain takes about 10 minutes to get to Jamaica Station. It takes about 5 minutes to switch from the AirTrain to the LIRR, and the LIRR takes about 20 minutes to get from Jamaica to NY Penn Station.

If your flight arrives at Terminals 1, 2 or 3 at JFK, you can cut a few minutes off of your AirTrain ride by taking the "internal" AirTrain to the Terminal 8/9 stop and switching there to the "external" AirTrain to Jamaica. This way you avoid having to go all the way around to all of the terminals.

Going to JFK Termainls 8/9 you can do the same trick: get off the "external" AirTrain at Terminal 1 and switch to the "internal" AirTrain to 8/9.

Cheapest: AirTrain + Subway

Taking the AirTrain to the subway is a more economical option than the LIRR (especially at times when peak tickets are required on the LIRR). It can also be faster if you are traveling to parts of Manhattan not easily accessible to Penn Station.

A few links:

How much does the AirTrain + subway cost and how do I pay?

The AirTrain costs $5 per person per ride, payable from a Metrocard holding sufficient value. (A 10-trip Metrocard valid only on JFK AirTrain is available for $25). The subway costs $2.50. MetroCards can be purchased, with a $1 fee, from the vending machines when you get off the AirTrain. See Subways, buses, and Metrocards for further details.

How long does the AirTrain + subway take?

The AirTrain takes about 10 minutes to get to either Jamaica Station (for the E train) or Howard Beach (for the A train). It takes about 5 minutes to switch between trains.

The E train between NY Penn Station and Suthphin Blvd-Archer Ave takes 35-45 minutes. The A train between Howard Beach and the Financial District takes about 45-60 minutes.

If your flight arrives at Terminals 1, 2 or 3 at JFK, you can cut a few minutes off of your AirTrain ride by taking the "internal" AirTrain to the Terminal 8/9 stop and switching there to the "external" AirTrain to Jamaica or Howard Beach. This way you avoid having to go all the way around to all of the terminals.

Going to JFK Termainls 8/9 you can do the same trick: get off the "external" AirTrain at Terminal 1 and take the "internal" AirTrain to 8/9.

After planning for connection timing delays, expect a total of 60-75 minutes to/from Penn Station on the E subway line, compared to 45-60 minutes using LIRR.

Is there an even cheaper way?

Yes, the Q10 and Q10 Limited bus connect JFK to the A train's Lefferts Blvd stop or the E/F trains' Kew Gardens/Union Turnpike stop. (The Q10 runs local, making every stop along the route; the Q10 Limited makes fewer stops.) The buses on these routes do not have luggage racks (be prepared to hold your luggage in your lap or slide it under your seat) and can be very slow.

See the Q10 schedule for further details.

The B15 bus connects JFK to the 3/4 New Lots Avenue stop (served by the 3 during the day and the 4 late nights) or the L New Lots Avenue stop. However the bus has the same downsides as the Q10 and the trains make every local stop and are very very slow as well. This route may be useful if your destination is in Brooklyn.

See the B15 Schedule for further details.

Both the Q10 and B15 operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with reduced frequencies between midnight and 5:00 AM. The Q10 Limited now operates 7 days a week as well, from approximately 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM on weekdays, and with reduced hours on weekends. All of these buses arrive and depart from Terminal 5 at JFK, and do not stop at any other terminal at the airport. However, B15 buses as well as Q10 Limited buses also stop at the Lefferts Boulevard AirTrain stop. If you are arriving at, or departing from, a different terminal, you can ride the JFK AirTrain for free between Terminal 5 (or Lefferts Boulevard) and any other terminal.

Buy a Metrocard at newsstands at JFK to pay for your bus ride; a free transfer to the subway system is included. If you don't have a Metrocard, you will have to pay in coins on the bus (no bills) and then buy a Metrocard to transfer to the subway. See Subways, buses, and Metrocards for further details on transfers and Metrocards.

Other options: shared vans, NYC Airporter Bus, Hertz on Demand

Shared vans

Shared van services like SuperShuttle and Airlink are mainly useful in two situations:

  1. You have more than 4 people (the max that can fit in a taxi) and you want to ride together.
  2. You are traveling solo and think you'll have trouble handling your luggage on the AirTrain and subway/LIRR or you want door-to-door service for some other reason, but you simply can't afford a taxi.

The problems with shared vans are that you have to wait for them to fill up before they leave, and they can make up to a dozen stops at other riders' destinations before taking you to your destination, making it take forever to get where you're going (or requiring them to pick you up super early if you're headed to the airport). There's also traffic to worry about.

The AirTrain + LIRR/subway options are cheaper than shared vans and usually faster (because of traffic). A taxi is much faster, but more expensive (unless you have 3-4 people, in which case the taxi starts to get almost as cheap as the shared van).

NYC Airporter bus

There is also the NYC Airporter bus to Grand Central Terminal, the Port Authority Bus Terminal and Penn Station. The bus generally runs every 30 minutes (see the schedule in the link above) and costs a little more than the AirTrain + LIRR. It's mainly useful if you are headed to one of the transit hubs and don't want to deal with figuring out or carrying luggage on the trains or subways. Note, however, that the same bus goes first to GCT, then to the PABT, and finally to Penn. If you're going to Penn Station, AirTrain + LIRR will therefore be much faster.

Note that this service replaced the old NY Airport Service, which lost its contract to serve JFK and LGA.

Hertz on Demand one-way rates

As of April 2012, Hertz no longer offers the 24 hour "shuttle" rate from JFK to Manhattan (although they may still offer it from Manhattan to JFK on select days) or the old 2.5 hour Drive Yourself rate.

Their affiliate Hertz on Demand, however, offers relatively inexpensive one way rentals between JFK and select locations in Manhattan. HoD requires a separate (free) membership. See their site for details.

Note that in general we strongly advise NYC visitors against renting a car unless you need to spend time in the suburbs. A car in Manhattan is a liability--not an asset. Driving in NYC is extremely different from driving anywhere else in the US, plus you have to pay for any tolls, parking (upwards of $50 a day in many lots) and gas (although gas is included in Hertz on Demand rentals). But if the timing works for you, your destination in Manhattan is near a Hertz location, and you're familiar with driving in NYC, these special rates can be a good deal.

US Helicopter

As of September 2009, US Helicopter "temporarily" ceased operations. This section will be updated if service resumes.

Newark (EWR) to Manhattan

Newark Airport is located in the City of Newark, New Jersey, a few miles southwest of Manhattan. It is quite convenient to the West Side of Manhattan and Lower Manhattan (including the Financial District) by road and rail.

The Official EWR Ground Transportation page lists all the major airport transportation options.

Most convenient: taxi

Taxis are probably the most convenient way to get to Manhattan from EWR. But be warned that they are very expensive, and traffic can slow you down.

How much does a taxi cost?

Taxis charge according to a detailed system of zones and surcharges. Most destinations in Manhattan cost $50–75 + tip and toll, depending on where you're going and what time it is. Note the $5 surcharges for east side destinations and rush hour trips. There is also a 10% senior citizen discount for those 62 and older who show ID.

Tolls will be at least $6 for most destinations in Manhattan: up to $3.20 for the Turnpike (roundtrip) + $9.50 / $7.50 (peak / off-peak) for the tunnel as of December 2009. Note that you can request that the driver take "Route 1&9" instead of the Turnpike to avoid the Turnpike toll - when using the Holland Tunnel this is generally quicker anyway.

Taxis are now accepting credit cards as well as cash, using a system provided by TaxiPass. Passengers purchase a voucher from a kiosk before entering the taxi, and completes it like a check with the amount manually filled in. The driver accepts this voucher at the end of the journey. There is a surcharge for using this service.

How long does a taxi take?

Taxis can take anywhere from 20 minutes (to get to destinations near the Holland or Lincoln Tunnels when there is no traffic) to an hour or more (if there is traffic or you need to get to the East Side).

What about car services?

Three of the largest car services serving EWR and Manhattan are Dial 7 (formerly Tel Aviv), Carmel, and Moveo. As of Summer 2009, both charge in the range of $43-50 (depending on the time of day) plus tolls and tips. Both also often have coupons available, either on their websites or often in the in-flight magazines.

Reservations are not needed in advance, but are recommended if you are arriving or departing during a peak time. Whether you have a reservation or not, you should call immediately upon arrival so they can dispatch a car to the airport for you.

There are many other car services, including some that are more reliable and have fancier cars, but are more expensive. See the NYC Limousine/Car Services thread on Flyertalk. Most car services can have someone meet you at the baggage claim for an extra fee rather than making you go outside to find the driver.

Fastest at Rush Hour: AirTrain + NJ Transit Train

Because traffic at the tunnels from New Jersey to Manhattan can get terrible at rush hour, and the trains run most frequently at those hours, the best option at peak times is to take the AirTrain monorail from your terminal to the Newark Airport Train Station, where you can transfer to the NJ Transit trains to Manhattan.

If you are headed to Lower Manhattan, however, it is cheaper (and often faster) to take the NJ Transit train only to Newark Penn Station and take the PATH train to the World Trade Center station. This avoids the cumbersome transfer to the subway from the train at New York Penn Station.

Do know however that there are no special luggage racks available on the NJ Transit trains (though some seats near doors fold up to make room for wheelchairs, bicycles, and luggage). Thus navigating NJ Transit can be a bit difficult if you have more than just a carry-on.

Note: Through July 15, 2014, the EWR Airtrain is closed. See here for more information. Shuttle buses will run from Newark Penn Station to the terminals, requiring a NJT ticket to/from EWR to board.

Links:

How much does the AirTrain + NJT Train cost and how do I pay?

Fares between Newark Airport and New York Penn Station in Manhattan are currently $12.50 one-way. There are no round-trip discounts available. The ticket includes transportation on the NJ Transit train between New York Penn Station and the Newark Airport AirTrain station, as well as the AirTrain access fee. When traveling to the airport, be sure to keep your ticket, which you will need to transfer to the AirTrain. Usually the conductor will remind you of this. When leaving the airport, be sure to take your ticket after passing through the turnstiles, as you'll need to give it to the conductor when you board the train.

Tickets are available from vending machines in the terminals near the AirTrain stations, as well as in the main AirTrain station near the turnstiles leading to the train. In New York, you can get tickets from vending machines scattered around Penn Station. Be warned, however, that lines can sometimes be long, as there are not enough machines, and the machines are VERY slow, particularly compared to the MTA (Subway/LIRR/MetroNorth) ones. Give yourself at least a 10 minute buffer to buy your ticket and board your train.

Is there a way to save a quarter?

Yes, New Jersey officials apparently think that 1 + 1 = 2.1 (i.e., they charge more for a single ticket from EWR to New York Penn Station than they charge if you buy the ticket in two parts). Here's how to make 1 + 1 = 2 again:

On the way from EWR, buy a ticket to Newark Penn Station (instead of New York Penn Station) for $8.25 one-way (no round-trip tickets available and you can't change the origin on the EWR ticket machines). This ticket includes the AirTrain access fee and the NJ Transit ticket from the Airtrain station to Newark Penn Station. When the conductor comes to collect your ticket, tell him or her that you'd like to go instead to New York Penn Station. The conductor will charge you a "change of terminal" fee of $4 for a grand total of $12.25, which is cheaper than the $12.50 they charge for a single EWR to New York Penn Station ticket (note: as of 9/3/10, the single ticket price was reduced from $15.00 to $12.50, making this strategy a little less worthwhile).

On the way to EWR from Manhattan, you can change the origin on the ticket machine to Newark Penn Station and repeat the process above. Another option is to purchase a ticket to Elizabeth (instead of EWR), which is one station past the airport. The cost is $6.75 one way. Then, just get off at the EWR airport station. It doesn't even matter if the train doesn't stop at Elizabeth--just tell the conductor you want to get off at the airport when he or she takes your ticket. At the airport you will need to purchase a separate AirTrain access ticket for $5.50 from the ticket vending machines near the turnstiles. This again brings the one-way cost of a ride from Manhattan to EWR to $12.25.

Finally, senior citizens (over 62) should always buy their tickets between New York and EWR in two parts: the train fare should be paid on the train in cash to a conductor (seniors are not charged a penalty for buying on the train) and the AirTrain access ticket should be purchased from the vending machine at EWR near the turnstiles. A senior ticket between EWR and New York Penn Station normally costs $11.25 if purchased from the machine, but buying it in two parts as described above costs only $8.50 ($3 for the train fare to Elizabeth and $5.50 for the AirTrain access ticket).

All prices above are as of September 2010. Consult NJTransit.com for current fares. Fares increased in May 2010, as of which discounted and round trip tickets were no longer available on NJ Transit trains.

How long does the AirTrain + NJT Train take?

The AirTrain takes 5-15 minutes to connect you to the train station, depending on what terminal you are coming from and how long you have to wait for the train. Be careful during off-peak hours (i.e., late-night and early-morning); the AirTrain may not run direct from the terminal to the NJ Transit train station and you may have to transfer. Pay attention to the signs & announcements, or ask a staff member.

The NJTransit train takes only about 20-25 minutes to get to Penn Station, but at many times of the day the trains run almost an hour apart, so if you miss the train, you can get stuck waiting for quite a while. This is particularly problematic most of the day on the weekends.

For detailed schedules see the NJ Transit website.

Best Balance of Cost and Convenience: Olympia Trails Bus

At non-peak times, the Olympia Trails bus can provide a more convenient alternative to the AirTrain + NJ Transit Train option for roughly the same price. The bus stops first at the Port Authority Bus Terminal (42nd St and 8th Ave) and then goes across 42nd St stopping at 5th Ave and at Grand Central Terminal at Lexington Ave.

The big advantage to the bus is that it picks up directly from the terminals and leaves every 15 minutes for most of the day, while the AirTrain option requires you to take the monorail to the train station and connect to a regular train, which sometimes run at intervals of almost an hour apart.

How much does the Olympia Trails Bus cost and how do I pay?

As of December 2009, the Olympia Trails bus is $15 one way or $25 roundtrip for an adult. Seniors and students age 12-16 pay $10 each way. Kids under 12 ride free with accompanying adult. Check the inflight magazine as they often have a $5 coupon for round trip tickets.

You can purchase tickets from the Ground Transportation desks near the baggage claims in each terminal, or you can simply pay on board the bus. Usually a ticket agent will come around to collect tickets or payment when the bus gets to Terminal C, but sometimes the driver will collect the fare.

How long does the Olympia Trails Bus take?

Schedule information is available at their website by selecting New Jersey/Newark Liberty Airport to New York/New York City from the pull-down menus on the left side of their page. Other links to information about the Olympia Trails bus on their website do not include schedule information (it's a terrible website). Also, note that traffic can significantly delay the bus at peak times. Schedule for EWR to NYC and NYC to EWR (schedule shows 30 minutes from Terminal C to Port Authority)

Cheapest: NJ Transit Bus #62 + PATH Train

The NJ Transit #62 bus (see Bus #62 Schedule) will take you to Newark Penn Station for much less money than the AirTrain and NJ Transit train option. From Newark Penn Station, you can get the PATH train to Manhattan.

The #62 stops in front of Terminals B and C, and in the bus staging area to the side of Terminal A (to the left as you exit Terminal A). For most of the day, it runs approximately every 20 minutes, making it a more frequent and far cheaper (though slower) option than the AirTrain to get from EWR to downtown Newark.

All PATH trains from Newark Penn Station travel through Jersey City to Lower Manhattan (World Trade Center site); from there you can catch a cab, bus, or subway to other parts of NYC. If you wish to go to Midtown, you should transfer at Journal Square to a 33rd Street PATH train, which stops at Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, and then goes up 6th Avenue with stops at 9th, 14th, 23rd, and 33rd Streets. See the PATH map.

Note: For the remainder of 2014, on weekends, PATH trains will not run to lower Manhattan. Change at Journal Square to a 33rd Street PATH train.

Most buses used on the #62 route have a small luggage rack behind the driver's seat. Only small, rollaboard-style bags fit comfortably on this rack, however, and official NJ Transit policy limits you to one large bag and one small bag. The bus is often quite crowded, as many airport employees use the bus to commute to/from work; don't expect much room in the aisles to store your luggage.

How much do Bus #62 and the PATH cost and how do I pay?

Local fare on bus #62 is $1.50, payable on board in cash (bills and coins, but no pennies). The driver will not make change, so bring exact change if starting at EWR. Fares can be combined (e.g. two passengers traveling together can pay with 3 $1 bills). If you are going from Newark Penn Station to EWR, you can buy a ticket from a vending machine before boarding the bus.

The PATH costs $2.50 each way. You can buy QuickCards (for the PATH only) or Metrocards (valid on the PATH as well as on NYC subways and buses) from vending machines, newsstands, and convenience stores in or near the stations. Transfers between the WTC PATH line and the 33rd St PATH line are free. Transfers to the NYC Subway are not included.

Prices are as of February, 2014.

How long do Bus #62 and the PATH take?

Assuming a short wait for the #62 and the PATH and minimal traffic heading through Newark, trip time from EWR to the World Trade Center station can take as little as 50 minutes. Allow well over an hour to get from EWR to destinations on the 33rd Street PATH line in Manhattan, however. See the Bus #62 Schedule and the PATH timetables for further details.

Other Options: Shared Vans

Shared van services like SuperShuttle and Airlink are mainly useful in two situations:

  1. You have more than 4 people (the max that can fit in a taxi) and you want to ride together.
  2. You are traveling solo to a destination other than the Port Authority Bus Terminal or Grand Central Terminal and don't want to take your luggage on (or figure out) the train or subway.

The problems with shared vans are that you have to wait for them to fill up before they leave, and they can make up to a dozen stops at other riders' destinations before taking you to your destination, making it take forever to get where you're going (or requiring them to pick you up super early if you're headed to the airport). There's also traffic to worry about. But if you fall into one of the above categories, shared vans may make sense for you.

Other Options: One-Way Car Rentals

Some rental car companies offer special deals for one-way rentals between the airport and the city. If you are arriving at EWR on Thursday or Friday, or departing from EWR on Sunday or Monday, as of April 2012, Avis and Hertz each offer a rate in the $25 range. With Hertz you keep the car up to 24 hours. With Avis, you keep it only 6 hours.

Hertz's affiliate Hertz on Demand also offers relatively inexpensive one way rentals between EWR and select locations in Manhattan. HoD requires a separate (free) membership. See their site for details.

In the past National offered an EWR shuttle rate as well, but it has been unavailable since at least 2009.

Note that in general we strongly advise NYC visitors against renting a car unless you need to spend time in the suburbs. A car in Manhattan is a liability--not an asset. Driving in NYC is extremely different from driving anywhere else in the US, plus you have to pay for any tolls, parking (upwards of $50 a day in many lots) and gas. But if the timing works for you and you're familiar with driving in NYC, these special rates can be a good deal.

Other Options: NJ Transit Bus 107

An alternative that falls between the Olympia Trails bus and the PATH train/Bus #62 combination in terms of cost and convenience is NJ Transit's Bus #107. It runs between the North Area at EWR and the Port Authority Bus Terminal about twice an hour on weekdays and once an hour on weekends. See the full schedule at NJ Transit's website (PDF). As of fall 2009, the fare was $4.40. You can purchase tickets from ticket machines and windows at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

To get between the passenger terminals and the North Area, you can take the economy long-term parking shuttle bus (which is free). Bus 107 stops on the outer roadway of Highways 1 and 9 just outside the gate of the parking lot. A few times a day Bus 107 also runs directly to the passenger terminals, although according to the schedule it does not transport NY passengers to/from the terminals.

Bus 107 is probably not a great choice for first-time visitors to EWR, as it may be difficult to find the bus stop outside the long-term parking lot. It is worth considering, however, for trips to the airport from Manhattan, particularly if the Port Authority Bus Terminal is a convenient departure point and you don't want to pay $15 for the more-convenient Olympia Trails bus.

Other Options: US Helicopter

As of September 2009, US Helicopter "temporarily" ceased operations. This section will be updated if service resumes.

Related Links:

Last modified on 8 June 2014, at 06:42