Most city buses follow easy-to-understand routes along the Manhattan street grid. Routes go up or down the north-south avenues, or east and west on the major two-way crosstown streets: 96th, 86th, 79th, 72nd, 57th, 42nd, 34th, 23rd, and 14th. Usually bus routes operate 24 hours, but service is infrequent late at night. Traffic jams can make rides maddeningly slow, especially along 5th Avenue in Midtown and the Upper East Side. Certain bus routes provide "limited-stop service" during weekday rush hours, which saves travel time by stopping only at major cross streets and transfer points. A sign posted at the front of the bus indicates that it has limited service; ask the driver whether the bus stops near where you want to go before boarding.
To find a bus stop, look for a light-blue sign (green for a limited bus) on a green pole; bus numbers and routes are listed, with the stop's name underneath.
Bus fare is the same as subway fare: $2.25. MetroCards allow you one free transfer between buses or from bus to subway; when using coins on the bus, you can ask the driver for a free transfer coupon, good for one change to an intersecting route. Legal transfer points are listed on the back of the slip. Transfers generally have time limits of two hours.
Route maps and schedules are posted at many bus stops in Manhattan, at major stops throughout the other boroughs, and at MTA.info. Each of the five boroughs of New York has a separate bus map; they're available from some station booths, but rarely on buses. The best places to obtain them are the MTA booth in the Times Square Information Center, the information kiosks in Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station, or at the MTA's website.
Pay your bus fare when you board, with exact change in coins (no pennies, and no change is given) or with a MetroCard.
Most buses that travel outside the city feed into the Port Authority Bus Terminal, on 8th Avenue between West 40th and 42nd streets. You must purchase your ticket at a ticket counter, not from the bus driver, so give yourself enough time to wait in a line. Several bus lines serving northern New Jersey and Rockland County, New York, make daily stops at the George Washington Bridge Bus Station from 5 am to 1 am. The station is connected to the 175th Street Station on the A line of the subway, which travels down the West Side of Manhattan.
A variety of discount bus services, including BoltBus and Vamoose Bus, offer direct routes from cities such as Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington, D.C., with the majority of destinations lying along the East Coast. These budget options, priced from about $20 one-way, depart from locations throughout the city.
Buses in New York
Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) Travel Information Line (511. www.mta.info.)
Buses to New York
Adirondack, Pine Hill & New York Trailways (800/225–6815. www.trailways.com.)
BoltBus (New York, NY. 877/265–8287. www.boltbus.com.)
Coach (New York, NY. 800/631–8405. www.coachusa.com.)
Greyhound Lines Inc. (New York, NY. 800/231–2222. www.greyhound.com.)
New Jersey Transit (NJ. 973/275–5555. www.njtransit.com.)
Vamoose Bus (New York, NY. 212/695–6766. www.vamoosebus.com.)
George Washington Bridge Bus Station (4211 Broadway, between 178th and 179th Sts., Washington Heights, New York, NY, 10033. 800/221–9903. www.panynj.gov.)
Port Authority Bus Terminal (625 8th Ave., at 42nd St., Midtown West, New York, NY, 10018. 212/564–8484. www.panynj.gov.)
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