Guide for expats on transport system in  New York City

Getting to New York City from any part of the world is quite easy as the city is well served by three major airports, which are operated and managed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. All these airports are extremely busy and crowded at all times of the day.

The John F Kennedy airport (JFK) which is located in the Jamaica Bay in the borough of Queens is only located 15 miles away from Manhattan but a journey from the city to JFK usually takes an hour by taxi or private car. This airport has nine terminals and is also easily accessed by public transport.

The Fiorello LaGuardia Airport handles the bulk of domestic flights out of New York City as well as several international connections through its 6 terminals which are made up of a central terminal and five other terminals. La Guardia is also located in Queens and can be accessed by taxi and public bus. A taxi ride from the city to La Guardia airport depending on traffic conditions takes only thirty minutes.

Newark Liberty International Airport is located in Newark, New Jersey. The airport which has four terminals is a major hub for Continental Airways.

A wide assortment of international and domestic airlines serve these New York City airports like Air Canada, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta, Lufthansa, Jet Blue, Singapore Airlines, Air India, Jet Airways, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic and many more. The complete list of all the airlines that serve these New York City airports is available on the website of the Port Authority ( All these airports are served by New York City’s public transport links that take the form of subways, trains and buses.

New York City is one of the few American cities, which is well served by an extensive and efficient public transport system. The city’s public transport system is operated by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and it consists of subways, buses and express buses, trains, ferries which connect all parts of the city and its nearest suburbs.

New York City’s buses and subways run on a 24 hour basis and they offer a reasonable and convenient mode of transportation. If you choose to make your home in Manhattan as most expatriates tend to do, then you really do not need to have a car in the city as you can survive quite easily without one. Moreover, New York City is notorious for its traffic congestion and driving within the city can be quite a nightmare for the uninitiated. As and when the need arises for a car, you can always avail of the services of a car rental company like Zipcar which offers rentals on an hourly basis at various locations all over the city.

Owning a car in Manhattan is often considered to be a luxury rather than a necessity as street parking is difficult to find and parking garages and parking lots are expensive. Your monthly parking bill in Manhattan can easily exceed $500 and with public transport being so easily available and convenient many New Yorkers tend to rely exclusively on it. However if you happen to live in one of the outer boroughs, then owing and maintaining a car makes sense as it is relatively cheaper than owning one in the crowded borough of Manhattan.

Apart from the subway and buses New York City’s transport needs are also served by its iconic ‘yellow cabs’ which are operated by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. These taxis are largely driven by immigrant drivers who are often hired by the taxi cab medallion owners. A taxi medallion (the right to operate a taxi) in New York City is considered to a be a tangible financial asset which is often bought by the medallion owner at an auction sanctioned by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, from a medallion broker or directly from a medallion owner. At a recent TLC auction, a taxi medallion fetched as much as $1.3 million so you can gauge how coveted these are. The yellow cabs are a more expensive mode of transport than the subway or the bus but they also operate twenty-four hours a day and add to the convenience of public transportation in New York City.