How to take the bus in New York: 14 steps (with pictures)

How to take the bus in New York: 14 steps (with pictures)
How to take the bus in New York: 14 steps (with pictures)

Taking the bus in New York is not much different from taking the bus anywhere else. Do not be afraid ! Remember to buy a MetroCard or SingleRide ticket in advance, so you don't have to count your change on the bus. You can then plan your route using the online calculator or using a network map. Finally, get on the bus to your destination, making sure you follow the rules!


Part 1 of 3: Buy a MetroCard or SingleRide ticket

Ride a Bus in New York City Step 1

Step 1. Find a MetroCard point of sale

You can buy a metro card (or MetroCard) from an ATM. These are placed in bus and metro stations. You can also buy your card at a kiosk. These kiosks are located in metro stations and are managed by company personnel. These cards are also sold in certain businesses in the city. If you can't buy a MetroCard on the bus, you can buy one from the MetroCard vans and buses that run the main routes once a month.

If you work in New York City, sometimes you will be able to get a MetroCard from your employer, at a tax-free price

Ride a Bus in New York City Step 2

Step 2. Determine the type of MetroCard you need

You can choose between a Pay-Per-Ride card or a MetroCard Ulimited Ride. With a Pay-Per-Ride card, you will choose the number of rides you will credit on your card, at $ 2.75 per ride (as of May 2020) and get a 5% bonus. If you put $ 25 on your card, then you will get an additional $ 1.25. With an Ulimited Ride card, you will pay a fixed price and be able to travel on the network unlimited, for 1 week or 1 month.

  • As of May 2020, the Unlimited Ride Card is priced at $ 33 for 1 week or $ 127 for a month (in 2020), unless you qualify for a reduced rate. People with disabilities and people over 65 are entitled to a preferential rate. This card is valid for buses and subways.
  • You can also buy a MetroCard Unlimited Ride Express Bus, priced at $ 62 (in 2020) per week. This is also valid on express buses and not only on local buses.
Ride a Bus in New York City Step 3

Step 3. Purchase your MetroCard or SingleRide ticket

Once you've made your choice, simply purchase the ticket you need. If you don't want to buy a MetroCard, which will cost $ 1 on the first purchase, you can purchase a SingleRide ticket. This costs $ 3 (in 2020) and includes a connection.

  • You will be able to pay with a bank card at ATMs and only large ATMs will accept cash payments. Ticket offices at metro stations will only accept cash. You will need to credit your MetroCard Pay-Per-Ride with at least $ 5.5.
  • You can also pay for your bus ticket in cash on board the bus, if you have exact change.
  • For an express bus, the price of a single trip is $ 6.75 (as of May 2020).

Part 2 of 3: planning your itinerary

Ride a Bus in New York City Step 4

Step 1. Obtain a network map

You can consult the network map online and print your itinerary. You can also buy a pocket card in most bookstores and even in convenience stores, which will be much easier.

You can use the Metropolitan Transport Authority's route planner at For example, you can enter your starting address, the monument you are starting from or the name of a station, as well as the address, monument or name of the station you want to go to. You can select the bus or the bus and metro, as well as your departure time. The system will then show you the routes that will take you where you want to go

Ride a Bus in New York City Step 5

Step 2. Determine your route

Establish which buses you will need to take and where you will need to change buses. You'll need to know this before you get on a first bus, so you don't get lost and get off in the wrong place.

If you are using the online route planner, the system will tell you where to change buses. If you are using a map, determine the bus stop where the lines cross that take you to your destination. This is where you will need to change buses. Sometimes you may be able to take a direct line

Ride a Bus in New York City Step 6

Step 3. Find the bus stop

Determine where your first bus stop is, based on the route you have prepared and head in that direction. Look for a bus shelter or at least a round blue sign showing the number of the bus line.

When you search for the route, the location of the bus stop will be shown. You can also consult a map of the bus lines to locate the stops

Ride a Bus in New York City Step 7

Step 4. Check the number of the bus as it stops

Just because you are at the right stop does not mean that all the buses that stop will be the ones you are expecting. Buses of different lines will stop at the same stop. Make sure you get on the correct one!

Part 3 of 3: get on the bus and behave well on board

Ride a Bus in New York City Step 8

Step 1. Get on the bus from the front

Since you will be paying for your trip at the front of the bus, it is important that you board from the front. Getting on a bus from the rear can be confusing and upset the driver.

If you are in a wheelchair, stand at the bus stop so that the driver can see you. Give him a sign as he approaches. The driver will activate a ramp or place an elevator, so you can go up. The driver will also help you place your wheelchair on the bus

Ride a Bus in New York City Step 9

Step 2. Buy your ticket

Use your MetroCard or SingleRide ticket to pay for your ride. You can also pay for your journey in cash, with the exact account. You will only be able to use twenty-five cents, dimes and 5 cents and no pennies (the 1 cent coins).

  • To use your MetroCard, insert it in the composter. The front of the card should face you and the back strip should be to the right.
  • If you pay in cash or with a SingleRide ticket, you will also insert them into the composter.
Ride a Bus in New York City Step 10

Step 3. Request a transfer ticket

If you buy your ticket on the bus or use a SingleRide ticket, ask for a transfer ticket if you need to change buses. This will be valid for 2 hours, on the lines that join the one on which you are currently traveling.

Ride a Bus in New York City Step 11

Step 4. Walk towards the back of the bus

When you get on the bus, go as far to the bottom as you can, to make room for people getting on. Sit down as soon as you can or hold onto the handles or bars.

Ride a Bus in New York City Step 12

Step 5. Keep your belongings out of the way and on the seats

Leaving your bag or other object in the aisle is dangerous. Passengers could trip over them and you could be robbed. Likewise, don't leave your bag in a seat that another passenger might use, especially if the bus is full.

If you are traveling with a stroller, keep it folded up throughout the journey

Ride a Bus in New York City Step 13

Step 6. Ask for the stop with the cord

If you see your bus stop arriving, you will have to pull on the lanyard to request the stop. You can also press the black strip next to the windows. The sign saying stop requested on the front of the bus will illuminate.

  • You might also see a red button to request shutdown. The bands could also be yellow. Locate these buttons and bands, using the signs.
  • Between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., you can request a stop anywhere and not just at bus stops.
Ride a Bus in New York City Step 14

Step 7. Exit the back of the bus

To avoid obstructing movement inside the vehicle, exit the bus from the rear, so that passengers can get on from the front. Locate a green light above the door, then press the yellow bar to open the door.

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