New York City’s excellent public transportation systems helps transport more than 6 million people everyday around various parts of the city. This public transport system which consists of buses, subways, taxis, trains and commuter ferries is easy to use and offers a safe and reasonable mode of transportation in the city. Moreover, local buses and subways operate 24 hours a day.

The fare for a local subway or bus ride is $2.25 (June 2009 prices) while the fare for the express bus service is $5.50. Children who are less than 44 inches ride free on the buses and subway (up to three children at a time) when they are accompanied by a full fare paying adult. If your child is under two years old and is perched on your lap on an express bus ride then they can ride for free.

In order to use the subway or the local bus you first need to purchase a stored value card called the MetroCard. You can pay cash on local buses but you need to have exact change preferably in quarters (25 cents) in order to do so. MetroCards are available in various denominations and in pay-per-ride or unlimited ride options. If you plan to use public transport daily then an unlimited card makes economic sense but if you don’t need to ride the bus or subway every day then a pay-per-ride card which can be topped with credit periodically is quite adequate.

Another unique characteristic of New York City’s public transport is that it is largely disabled friendly. All the MTA buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts which enable wheel chair bound passengers to board the bus through its rear door. Additionally the MTA buses are equipped with a ‘kneeling facility’ which helps people on crutches and people with walkers access the bus. Similarly many subway stations are equipped with elevators and ramps for disabled passengers and they also have service gates which can be used by disabled passengers as well as families traveling with children in strollers and push cars. The MTA also operates an Access-a-Ride facility which is a shared transit door to door facility for those people who are disabled and unable to use public transport for some or all of their trips.

More details about these and information is available at the MTA website at (http://www.mta.info/mta/ada/index.html)

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