Guidance Required for New York City & Amherst

Old Jun 3rd, 2021, 10:30 PM
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Guidance Required for New York City & Amherst

Hi All,

We will be a family of four - 2 adults and 2 teenagers. We will be arriving in New York in mid August 2021 and will be proceeding to
UMass Amherst. This is our first visit to USA.

We will be depending on public transport. What is the best way to reach UMass Amherst from New York Airport.
Also, are there restrictions to travel from one state to another.

Also, in case we decide to stay in New York City, which is the area we should look at. We are okay with using the underground metro trains.

We are foodies and would love to have the sandwich at Katz's Deli in case we decide to stay in New York. Any other recommendations for New York City and Amherst for first timers are welcome.

Thank you.
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Old Jun 4th, 2021, 02:27 AM
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There are 3 airports that serve the NYC area, two of which are internatioal airports. (JFK, and Newark). Which one are you flying into?
If your first destination is Amherst then Newark may be a better option due to proximity of train lines. If you are flying into JFK airport then your public transportation options are more limited, more convoluted, and more time consuming

To get to Amherst you will travel through Springfield, MA.

Options NYC to Springfield are:
a) Amtrak train - several departures each day. Amtrak trains also run right by Newark airport.
b) Bus - run by the "Peter Pan" bus company.

From Springfield to Amherst, it's ~30km distance (~20 miles), so your best option will likely be a taxi or car service or Uber/Lyft. I'm not familiar with what is available in that area. Your contacts at UMass may offer you some guidance and even know of someone who will pick you up. There is bus service from Springfield to Amherst but it will take you about 1.5 hours on a local bus to travel that 30km.

There are no restrictions on travel from state to state.

Others can give you advice on staying in NYC. We call the underground metro trains in NYC subways,

If you have other questions feel free to ask away.

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Old Jun 4th, 2021, 03:53 AM
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Compared to Europe, many parts of the USA's public transport infrastructure are quite rudimentary. You should contact UMass Amherst for their advice. Perhaps adding a flight leg from NYC (which airport?) to Hartford/Springfield may be useful to you. Train service in Northeast US is not very good.
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Old Jun 4th, 2021, 04:37 AM
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Perhaps you have already seen it, but this is the information UMass offers about getting there from various points. https://www.cics.umass.edu/grads/arriving-amherst



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Old Jul 22nd, 2021, 10:17 PM
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Thank you all for your prompt reply.

In view of the current pandemic situation, no tourist visas are being issued. Hence, my son will be travelling alone to US to join the University.

He will be arriving Newark and will need to proceed to Amherst.

Need clarity on the following :
1. Is there prepaid airport taxi service to take at the time of arrival, after clearing immigration and customs.
2. What are the other taxi/shuttle service options available to proceed to Amherst? How reliable are these service providers?
3. What is the approximate time taken from Newark-Amherst? Also, the approximate cost please.
4. Can some person give the dos and donts at Newark airport. This is his first trip alone and first to the US and we are concerned.
5. Currently his flight arrives Newark at Terminal B. He has a connecting flight to Boston from Terminal C.
We plan to cancel the Newark-Boston sector as he is more comfortable exiting the airport and taking a cab directly than change terminals. However, if he decides to continue till Boston how easy / difficult it is to change terminals from Terminal B to Terminal C at Newark.
6. Any guidance / tips please advise for Newark airport and for Boston airport.
Thank you.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2021, 02:17 AM
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I would say that getting to Amherst from Boston will be far easier and cheaper than from Newark, even if that means flying on to Boston. The drive from BOS to UMass would be ~1.5 hrs - perhaps a bit longer if he hit traffic. From Newark, add about an hour to that.

The link in the prior post by Fra_diavolo has info from the university, but it may not be up to date. I recommend you contact the school to see if they have more up to date info. They may know of more other options for his arrival dates as there are 1000's of students all trying to get to campus over a period of several days. Most will arrive by car, but the school may know of arrangements for start of school year trips. I know they have done that in the past for key dates - start of school year, vacation breaks, etc...

They list several private shuttle companies, and other options...

Private shuttle (this would be for one person, as the chances of a shared ride at the same time are zero point zero).
The first one, Valley Trnasporter looks defunct
The 2nd one, seemo says they will pick up from JFK or Newark - although the make a reservation links only show JFK. You could contact them directly and ask about Newark. The cost from JFK is listed as $749 for 1 to 3 people.... ouch. Newark would be the same price... From Boston Logan, the cost is $349 for a minivan.
I did not look at any of the others.
Reliability should not be an issue, but I don't know... Having a solid way to connect to the driver and company by phone/text/chat is critical. Your son should have either working cell service upon arrival, or connect to airport wifi if not. Last resort would be to ask a passerby to call the driver/car co on their US phone. While not the norm to share cell phone, and he may get a no or two, he WILL be able to find someone to help if needed. We (who are originally from New Jersey) may appear not caring, but we will help a stranger in need....

Getting from Term B to is easy - there is an interterminal shuttle train that runs every 5minutes - very easy.
Newark, while a big, busy airport is not terribly hard to navigate. If he is willing to ask for help he will have no trouble, and people will be happy to help.

The other, far cheaper option from Newark would be to take a bus (Greyhound) or train (Amtrak) to a point much closer to Amherst. Those would be either a) Bradley Airport (Hartford), BDL, or Springfield MA. From there a taxi, uber, or lyft could take him the final distance. greyhound.com or amtrak.com.

There is supposed to be a scheduled bus from BOS to Amherst (Peter Pan bus lines), but when I look at their schedules I don't see any buses...

If you give us his arrival date/time into Newark we can help dig up some more specific options.

If you want to, you can private message (pm) me with that info too.

Last edited by J62; Jul 23rd, 2021 at 02:21 AM.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2021, 02:28 AM
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If you are flying to a closer airport, pick BDL, the Hartford/Springfield international airport. There are busses from there to Amherst and if you decide to use a limo or Uber or Lyft it will be faster less expensive than either Boston or Newark.

Last edited by oldemalloy; Jul 23rd, 2021 at 02:30 AM. Reason: Tylpo
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Old Jul 23rd, 2021, 02:43 AM
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No flights from EWR to BDL....

Thinking more about it....if you DID use a car service at Newark I'd pick a local NYC area company such as carmel or dial7. they are familar with the airports while a Mass company may not be. A quick at dial7.com shows the price to be ~$500 from Newark to UMass. Others can recommend good private service co's for Newark airport for you to check.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2021, 08:19 AM
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re-assure your son that there are plenty of people who can help him find his new terminal/ gate at Newark airport. Especially after going through customs. And he can familiarize himself with the airport layout by watching a couple of youtube videos

But what time of day would his flight arrive Newark? That info would be helpful in determining if the best option is Newark or Boston.

Car service/pre-arranged taxi from Boston is about a two hour drive and the cost would be in the $300 range. From Newark it's 3.5 hours and probably double that amount.

Last edited by clarkgriswold; Jul 23rd, 2021 at 08:25 AM.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2021, 12:00 PM
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Transferring between terminals at airports (including Newark) is very easy. The airport website should have instructions, but in any event people working at the airport will be able to tell him how to do it. It is much easier to get to Amherst from Boston than from Newark. On the other hand, it will take time for the connection and the flight and in the end it might not save all that much time (or money)

I don't know if there is any way to get a bus direct from EWR to Amherst (even with a change) but if not then he'd have to take public transportation into New York City. At that point there are lots of buses to Amherst. Peter Pan Bus Line from Port Authority is the 'main' one but there are lots of others as well. Really, just google it. There are several discount bus lines, they go in and out of business so I don't know which one currently are running but I know it is a very common thing for people to take buses from NYC to UMASS. But that involves getting into the city from EWR, again, not at all "hard" but maybe a bit confusing from someone from overseas. Often you have to change buses in Springfield but that bus station is small and it's very easy to do.

Boston is a bit easier in that it's closer. Again, lots of bus lines. Unless money is no object taking a bus will be a fraction of the cost of a taxi/uber/private transport van/etc.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2021, 12:42 PM
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I'm not finding any of those "lots of of buses myself" (really, I googled it)...
That "main bus company" Peter Pan has one (1) bus a day from NYC to Amherst MA, departing NYC at 7am.


Greyhound as 3 buses from NYC to Springfield a day, and none (0) to Amherst



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Old Jul 23rd, 2021, 01:24 PM
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What is the approximate time taken from Newark-Amherst?

Perhaps you aren't understanding the distance involved. It's almost 200 miles between Newark NJ and Amherst MA. Even in your own car would take almost 4 hours to make the drive.


Have you contacted the school? Can't they make a suggestion? Surely many students need to arrive by public transportation.

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Old Jul 23rd, 2021, 02:53 PM
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If your son is old enough to attend UMass Amherst he is plenty old enough to transfer terminals at EWR. To expect to take a car service from EWR to Amherst isn't realistic. You don't say where you are from but I 'think' it might be the UK. If so, doing what you are contemplating would be similar to have a flight into Stansted with a connection to Newcastle . . . but dropping the STN > NCL leg and taking a taxi to Newcastle instead.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2021, 03:08 PM
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There is Amtrak train service from Newark Airport to Springfield Ma. Very convenient but will depend on the time of arrival into Newark Airport. And planes can sometimes be late so taking customs into consideration, you probably wouldn't want to book a train until about 3 hours after SCHEDULED arrival into Newark.

From Springfield he could take a taxi the 25 additional miles to Amherst I suppose, but there is bus service from Union train station in Springfield to Amherst/ ( Again, provided that schedules match up).

Note that Amherst has some rideshare groups. If you get lucky your son might match up with someone who is traveling from NY at the same time. Or at least message back and forth with kids who've done the trip previously and can discuss the best options. Here is one facebook group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/333415860003945/

Last edited by clarkgriswold; Jul 23rd, 2021 at 03:15 PM.
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Old Jul 24th, 2021, 05:17 AM
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J62 - there are plenty of buses from NYC to Amherst if you are willing to change buses in Springfield which is very easy to do.

clarkgriswold - if he chooses to take Amtrak to Springfield he could easily walk to the bus station which is about a half block away from the train station. Of course if he has a year's worth of luggage that would be more difficult.

Other bus options are things like megabus.com, boltbus.com UMASS students use these all the time to get to/from NYC and Boston (I live half an hour from UMASS and myself and two of my children went there so I am familiar with the options - buses take longer and are less comfortable than trains but are less expensive. In most cases there is going to need to be a change - either bus to bus or train to bus, but they are common and relatively easy. )
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Old Jul 24th, 2021, 08:52 AM
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You should take the train, period (Amtrak). YOu don't even need this bus from Springfield thing, the Vermonter train goes right to Northampton MA which is only a few miles from Amherst. It has a stop at NY Penn, for sure as you can clearly book that now at pretty cheap rates (NYP-NHT). It is direct and departs around 11:30 am. It also has a stop in Newark at Newark Penn, it appears (you have to put NWK for departure point for Newark Penn and NHT for Northampton arrival). I think the other Newark statons aren't operational right now for the Vermonter (like Metropark).

This is the schedule.
Vermonter-Schedule-P55-031620.pdf

Newark Penn station is only 5 miles from EWR.

Amherst College's own website says that is an option and that Amtrak stops at Northampton.
https://www.amherst.edu/visiting/transportation

Their info seems better than U of Mass (they are only a couple miles apart, I think). U of MA info may be better from major airports.
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Old Jul 24th, 2021, 09:07 AM
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IF the OP's son is hauling a semester's worth of luggage and 'stuff', taking buses and/or trains (and the transfers between) could either be an inconvenient schlepp or nearly impossible depending on how much 'stuff'.
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Old Jul 24th, 2021, 09:14 AM
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Good info about the train. So in order to catch an 11:30 am train, a flight (from Europe we assume) that arrives before 8 or 8:30am would give enough time to catch that once a day train. The missing info is when does he arrive..
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Old Jul 25th, 2021, 10:27 AM
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Yes Amtrak does stop in Northampton, but not as frequently as it does in Springfield and then he still has to get to Amherst. If he's got the money (and a lot of luggage) he could get an uber from Northampton, or Springfield. That would be easiest as even if he took the bus to Amherst he still has to get to where ever it is he is staying. Which is probably walking distance except with a lot of luggage.
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