▷ New York City MetroCard 2024 | Ultimate Guide Tips & Tricks (2024)

The MetroCard is a pre-paid card that conveniently allows you to pay for subway and bus transit in New York City. It is necessary to purchase one to gain access to the subway trains. It can be purchased at virtually every subway station.

The card offers various advantages: you don’t have to carry a lot of cash in the City, it fits into any pocket, and depending on your length of stay, transit costs are covered by a flat rate!

The New York subway can be overwhelming at times. Find out about the different ticket options you have, how to not get lost in the New Yorker Subway system and most importantly which trains are running local and express.

Table of Contents

The most important info’s about the New Yorker Subway

Things you need to know:

  • The MetroCard is also valid for Busses in New York.
  • Subway Day Pass Does not exist anymore.
  • There are no zones within the New Yorker Subway System. Every ride costs the same. No matter how far you go Zones.

When does it make sense to buy a monthly or weekly pass?

  • Up to 3 rides: Single Ride Tickets
  • 4 to12 rides: Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard
  • Starting at 12 rides: 7-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard

Which MetroCard ticket is the best for 3, 5, or 7 days in New York City?

  • 1 Day: Single Ride Tickets
  • 2-3 Days: Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard
  • 3-7 Days: 7-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard
  • 7-10 Days: 7-Day Unlimited Ride & Pay-Per Ride MetroCard Kombi

We are going to explain the different tickets in a little bit and of course we share how to buy NYC subway tickets. You’ll see that buying a MetroCard in New York City is super easy. Note that without purchasing a ticket you won’t be able to access the platforms.

While buying a NYC subway ticket you have different options. You can either buy a single ride ticket or a MetroCard ($1) which you can fill with money. For every ticket option except the Single Ride Ticket you’ll need a MetroCard.

With the famous yellow New Yorker MetroCard you are able to ride the Subway, the bus or even the Rosevelt Island Tramway. You can refill your MetroCard at every train station.

MetroCard New York Pricing and where to buy a New York MetroCard

Except when you’re buying a Single Ride ticket the price for the MetroCard New York is $1. Additionally you will have to buy the rides..

If you’re not staying in New York City for longer than one month consider the following ticket options.

  • Single Ride Ticket: 3 $
  • Pay-Per-Ride: ab 5,50 $
  • 7-Day Unlimited Ride: 32 $

Are you staying longer than one month? Then this may work for you:

  • 30-Day Unlimited Ride: 127.00 $
  • Express Bus Einzelfahrt: 6.75 $
  • Express Bus Plus 7-Day: 62.00 $

Additionally, there are a few more options regarding the JFK Airtrain

  • JFK AirTrain 10-Trip MetroCard: 25 $
  • JFK AirTrain 30-Day Unlimited Ride: 40 $

How much is a senior MetroCard?

This option is calledReduced Fare. Seniors pay the base subway or local bus fare which is $2.75. Reduced fare is half the base fare, $1.35 or less with Reduced-Fare MetroCard discounts. Customers who are 65 years of age or older or have a qualifying disability.

What age do you have to pay for NYC subway?

If you take the subway you can take up to three children 44 inches tall and under with you who will ride for free on subways and local buses.

Now you know the MetroCard New York prices. Let’s dive deeper into the pro’s and con’s of each ticket option:

Single Ride Ticket – 3 $

The Single Ride Ticket is a ticket that is only valid for one ride for 2 hoursYou can only buy it at a MetroCard New York vending machine and is valid for one person.

You cannot transfer from the subway to the bus with the single ride ticket.

  • A Single Ride Ticket only makes sense when you won’t ride more than three times in total during your stay.

Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard – 5,50 $

Use the Pay-Per-Ride option when you want to refill your MetroCard with a certain amount of money. Before you enter the platform you swipe the MetroCard and are being charged $2.75

Using the Pay-Per-Ride ticket option you have to pay$2,75 per ride which is being charged from your MetroCard credit on your card. Single rides are cheaper using this option.

Buy your MetroCard at any MetroCard vending machine or at a kiosk paying $1 and then add an amount of at least $5.50 to your card. The maximum amount you can add to your card is $80.

Using the Pay-Per-Ride option you will have to pay at least $6,50

After swiping at the turnstile you can ride the subway for 2 hours and are allowed to transfer once from subway to bus or from one bus to the other.

With the credit on your MetroCard you may also use the PATH, AirTrain and Express busses. The price for each transportation option will be charged from the credit on your MetroCard.

It is also possible to combine the Pay-Per-Ride option with an unlimited MetroCard option such as the 7-Day unlimited pass, or the monthly pass.

7-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard – 32 $

With the 7-Day Unlimited Ride option you can ride the subway and the bus for 7 days as often as you want.

The 7-Day Unlimited Ride option is valid from the first use of the card until Midnight on the 7th day.

Note:: PATH-, AirTrain- or Expressbusse do not accept 7-Day or 30-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCards. You can fill the MetroCard with additional money and use the Pay-per-Ride option instead.

Be flexible and combine Pay-Per-Ride and Unlimited Ride

Save time and money and combin the Pay-Per-Ride and Unlimited Ride options. You can add a 7-Day Unlimited pass plus $5 (or more) to your card to be able to use one card for multiple transportations such as the AirTrain or the PATH to NJ.

Of course you can also use your Pay-Per-Ride Card for unlimited passes later on.

JFK AirTrain 10-Trip MetroCard – 25 $

Can you buy a MetroCard at JFK? Yes you can! This card is actually special and you can buy at JFK Airport right before you enter the NYC subway station. Yes, you pay the AirTrain after you’ve used it. If you’re not flying into JFK you can skip this part of the article.

Buying the JFK AirTrain 10-Trip MetroCard you’ll get 10 Single Rides with the NYC Subway plus the AirTrain ticket. The ticket is valid for 1 year after purchase and you can purchase it only at the vending machines at JFK airport.

Using this option you’ll save 50% !

For every ride, you’ll pay $2.75 and may use this ticket with up to 4 people at the same time.

Which MetroCard option is the best?

To find out which MetroCard option you may need in New York City you should do the math and calculate how many rides you might take per day, or in total during your stay.

  • 1 to 3 rides: Single Ride Tickets
  • 4 to 12 rides: Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard
  • 12 rides and up: 7-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard New York

Most of the times we buy the 7-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard and add extra money to it, if needed.

Tip: Take advantage of the Unlimited Ride und Pay-per-Ride options.

Let’s do the math: 4 Single Ride Tickets cost $12. 4 rides using the Pay-Per-Ride option cost $11 plus $1 for the actual MetroCard, which adds up to $12 as well. Starting at 4 rides you may want to take into consideration if you stick to Pay-Per-Ride or become more flexible.

Let’s do the math again: Using Pay-Per-Ride 12 rides cost $33 plus $1 $ per card. For $33 you can purchase the 7-Day Unlimited

  • With the MetroCard Calculator you can find out how many trips you will have avaible depending on the credit on your card.

On top of that the JFK AirTrain 10-Trip MetroCard makes sense starting at 4 trips and you only pay $25 instead of $31.

Now you know what kind of ticket options you have when it comes to the MetroCard New York. In the following chapter, you’ll get to know how to actually purchase a MetroCard in New York City and how to use the card.

How to buy a NYC subway ticket

▷ New York City MetroCard 2024 | Ultimate Guide Tips & Tricks (2)

1. Select Language

Select your preferred language

2. Select your MetroCard type

You have the choice between Single Ride, MetroCard and Fast $9 MetroCard.

Select Single Ride if you only need one ticket for one trip and pay $3.
To purchase a Pay-Per-Ride Card or a 7-Days-Unlimited Card pressMetroCard.

  • Select $9 MetroCard, if you want to buy a Pay-Per-Ride Card and you want to get done quick. During the following step you’ll pay for the fee and receive the MetroCard. You’re good to go.

3. Refill your card or Get new card

In case you already own a MetroCard you can either selectnew MetroCard (Get new card) or refill your card

  • In case you do not have a card yet selectGet new card.

4. Regular MetroCard or Unlimited Ride

If you want to purchase a 7-Days-Unlimited Card selectUnlimited Ride and then7-Day-Unlimited.

If you want to get Pay-Per-Ride credit on your MetroCard select Regular MetroCard.

5. Cash or Credit Card

Most machines take Cash, ATM Cards and Credit Cards. Not every machine excepts Cash. Always have your credit card handy.

Paying with your credit card (Credit Card) works most of the times. Insert your credit card and remove the card as soon as remove your Credit Card is shown on the display.

6. Enter your ZIP-Code

Follow the instructions to please enter your ZIP code and press ENTER on the keypad below.

  • You don’t know the ZIP-Code for the card? Enter00000 (5x Zero)

That’s it. In the end you have the option to have your receipt printed out for you.

How to refill your New York MetroCard

▷ New York City MetroCard 2024 | Ultimate Guide Tips & Tricks (3)

You want to refill your Metro Card or add more money to the card? Follow the steps 1-3 and pressRefill your card.

Now your New York MetroCard is ready to use.

Add value to your MetroCard
Select if you want to Add valueand choose your desired amount.

Add time to your Metro Card:
Select during the next step Add time and then 7-Day-Unlimited.

At the end you will pay and then receive your MetroCard, which can be used until the pass has expired or the credit is been used.

New York Subway Map

Ask for a free subway map at the main subway stations.

Is the NYC subway 24 hours?

The New Yorker Subway runs 24/7. During rush hour runs every 2-10 minutes. In between the subway runs every 5-10 minutes. At night until Midnight every 5-12 minutes. From Midnight to 6:30 AM the subway runs every 20 minutes.

How to get around in NYC

▷ New York City MetroCard 2024 | Ultimate Guide Tips & Tricks (4)

You can simply read the subway map and create your own route but if you like it a little bit more convenient, download one of the many apps for the Subway in New York City that helps you to navigate around.

In case you are wondering which NYC subway app is the best: The official app of the NYC Subway ismyMTA. They also show you delays. Other than that we mostly useGoogle Maps, because the app not only shows you the subway but also the busses, bike lanes and routes if you want to walk the distance to your final destination.

Roosevelt Island Tram

▷ New York City MetroCard 2024 | Ultimate Guide Tips & Tricks (5)
Using the New York MetroCard you can also ride the Roosevelt Island Tramway. You can even use your unlimited passes.

Enjoy the views from Roosevelt Island Tramway

The Roosevelt Island Tramway Station is located on 59th Street / 2nd Ave. Take the R toLexington Av / 59 St or4 5 6 to 59 Street. Then it’s only one block walking distance.

Ride the Subway like a local

Generally, there is a difference between express trains and local trains. Express trains, in contrast to local trains that stop at every station of a particular line, do not stop at every station.
▷ New York City MetroCard 2024 | Ultimate Guide Tips & Tricks (6)Subway lines are marked so that it is easy to tell which type of train services the line: a letter or number in a circle designates a local train. If the letter or number is is in a diamond, you are looking at an express train.

Which NYC subway lines are express?

The subway map also shows which stations are serviced by what type of train. Stations serviced by express trains are indicated by a white dot with a black rim. Regular stations are designated by only a black dot.

From the example on the left, you can see that the 125th Street Station and 86th Street Station are serviced by express trains.

You can also see that underneath every station, there are numbers or letters – these indicate which lines stop at that particular station. In our example, Line 6 stops at the following stations: 86 St., 96 St., 103 St., 116 St., and 125 St. Lines 4 and 5 only stop at 86 St. and 125 St. stations.

Uptown and Downtown

Upon entering a subway station, you will notice clearly marked signs for “uptown” and “downtown.” If you wish to travel north, i.e., the street numbers get higher, then you need to choose “uptown” (you are traveling upwards – at least geographically). If you would like to head south, follow the “downtown” signs.

▷ New York City MetroCard 2024 | Ultimate Guide Tips & Tricks (7)

New York Subway performances

There is a whole new world of artists and performers mostly handpicked by the Music Under New York (MUNY) committee of the MTA. It is totally legal to perform on platforms and subway stations. If you are looking for the best subway stops to catch a great show, check these out:

• Times Square – 42nd Street (Midtown)
• Grand Central – 42nd Street (Midtown)
• Fulton Street (Lower Manhattan)
• Atlantic Avenue – Barclays Center (Downtown Brooklyn)
• 14th Street – Union Square
• 34th Street – Herald Square
• 59th Street – Columbus Circle
• Delancey/Essex Street (Lower East Side)
• Lorimer Street (Williamsburg Brooklyn)

▷ New York City MetroCard 2024 | Ultimate Guide Tips & Tricks (2024)


What is the NYC subway fare for seniors? ›

About reduced fares

The reduced fare for subways and local, limited, and Select Bus Service buses is $1.45 (half the $2.90 base fare) at all times of the day for eligible customers. On express bus trips, the reduced fare is $3.50 (half the $7 base fare).

How much is a 7 day unlimited MetroCard NYC? ›

7-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard $33 Good for unlimited subway & local bus rides until midnight of the 7th day from first use. 30-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard $127 Good for unlimited subway and local bus rides until midnight, 30 days from day of first use.

How do I swipe my MetroCard bus in NYC? ›

With a MetroCard

Insert your MetroCard into the farebox near the driver, with the front of the card facing you and the black strip on the right.

How much money can you put on a NYC MetroCard? ›

LocationNew York City, United States
ManagerMetropolitan Transportation Authority
CurrencyUSD ($100 maximum load)
Auto rechargeEasyPayXPress
10 more rows

What is the train discount for seniors? ›

Details. With a Senior Railcard anyone 60 years or over can save 1/3 on all Standard and First Class, Anytime, Off-Peak and Advance fares for £30. Take a look at all the ticket types you can make savings on with a Senior Railcard. There are plenty of ways you can use your Railcard, for both long and short trips.

What age is senior discount in NYC? ›

To qualify for reduced fare one must be 65 or older. People with disabilities qualify for reduced fare at any age. For Subways: Purchase Reduced Fare and show your Medicare card or use Reduced Fare Metrocard. For Buses: Pay the reduced fare and show your Medicare card or use Reduced Fare Metrocard.

How to use the NYC subway as a tourist? ›

You can use cash, credit, or debit cards to make your purchase. New York City subway fares are $2.75 per trip. For visitors staying more than a couple of days you can buy a one week unlimited MetroCard for $33 or an unlimited monthly MetroCard for $127.00.

Is OMNY cheaper than MetroCard? ›

In fact, 83% of the time, OMNY is cheaper than a 30-day MetroCard if I average 10 rides a week. Let's see if we can generalize this to other weekly averages: As you can see, up until I average 12 rides a week, OMNY is usually better. More often than not, I'll save money if I stick with it and skip the Unlimited card.

Can you share a 7 day MetroCard NYC? ›

Unlimited Ride MetroCard

Cannot be used by or transferred to another person until the completion of a trip for which entry was obtained. The acceptance or solicitation of compensation for use of an Unlimited Ride MetroCard by other than authorized agents of MTA New York City Transit is prohibited.

Can two people use the same MetroCard in NYC? ›

Regular Pay Per Ride MetroCards:

These can be shared with up to 4 people per card. You can each swipe the turnstile separately or the first person can swipe 4x's and have everyone follow through the turnstile.

What does OMNY stand for? ›

What does “OMNY” mean? OMNY, which stands for One Metro New York, is based on the concept of unifying fare payments and ticketing across multiple modes of transportation. We believe that transportation is an essential service that connects communities and brings the diversity and energy of New York together.

Is there a 1 day unlimited MetroCard in NYC? ›

Unlimited MetroCards

This card is valid for unlimited subway and bus rides until midnight from the day of first use. You can choose a 7-day unlimited card or a 30-day unlimited. There is a $1 fee when you purchase a card. *Do not throw away your card when it expires, or you will have to pay $1 again for a new card.

Is it worth getting a MetroCard NYC? ›

Consider an unlimited MetroCard. If you take the bus or subway more than 46 times in a month, a 30-Day Unlimited card, which costs $132, would save you money. A 7-Day Unlimited card, which costs $34, saves you money if you take more than 12 rides in seven days.

How many people can use a New York MetroCard? ›

Using a MetroCard

When the turnstile screen says GO, proceed through the turnstile. Note: You cannot use an unlimited MetroCard within 18 minutes of swiping it. Pay for multiple people: Up to four riders can use the same payment method. Tap OMNY or swipe a pay-per-ride MetroCard as each person enters.

How do I get a senior citizen MetroCard in NYC? ›

You can apply in person: Bring 2 valid ID's (see acceptable proof above) to the Reduced-Fare MetroCard Walk-In Service Center at 3 Stone Street, in Lower Manhattan between Broadway and Broad Street. The Service Center is open weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm (except holidays). You may also apply at a MetroCard Bus or Van.

What is the income limit for fair fares in NYC? ›

Only New York City residents between the ages of 18 and 64 can apply for the discounted MetroCards, and an individual would need to make under $18,072 annually to qualify, according to the MTA. For a household of two, that maximum income jumps to $24,528. For a family of three, the maximum is $30,984.

How to get on NYC subway free? ›

Subways and local buses

Get free rides after 12 fares within seven days using the same device or contactless card with fare capping. Learn more about how to get free rides with OMNY.

Does OMNY have senior discounts? ›

The final implementation of OMNY will have senior discounts. Nothing will be different from how things work now, there will just be a contactless card instead of a metrocard with a mag stripe. You can use your phone if you want or you can use the card or you can use both.

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