Hop on Hop off buses in New York City

May 26th, 2014, 08:22 AM
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Hop on Hop off buses in New York City

I am concerned about the problems incurred by others regarding the Hop On Hop Off sightseeing buses. Could anyone advise me about the best of the three companies offering these services? Is traffic a major problem? Are Queue's uncomfortably long?How many days would you recommend to a first time visitor? I don't like the idea of a subway because of thieves. But I wonder about NYC subways. Are there reccomended hours best to avoid problems. I have been warned not to trust taxi drivers. Please advise.
ironandsilk is offline  
May 26th, 2014, 09:00 AM
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Yes, traffic is problem so be prepared to sit in it a lot.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
May 26th, 2014, 09:22 AM
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You worry too much.

Millions upon millions visitors and 99% don't have any issues with public transportaion. There maybe be an occasional pickpocket but you can make sure it doesn't happen to you by securing your valuables near to you.

Obviously you don't want to use the subway after about midnight till about 7am but anytime between you'll be safe.

Can't help you with H-on H-off deal as I never used it in NYC, but just trying to help you with your other worries. Just make sure you know your destination and don't end up in some bad areas.

Have a wonderful visit.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
May 26th, 2014, 09:54 AM
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I agree with you! I know I woory too much, once we get down in the subway we will find it the easiest and fastest way to travel.If we use city buses, is there a time of day when traffic is at it's worst or is there a lot of unexpected gridlock? Is there a rush hour to avoid? Thanks for your advice it is greatly appreciated.
ironandsilk is offline  
May 26th, 2014, 10:23 AM
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I think the HoHo buses are a terrible idea

1) They are expensive
2) You will spend a lot of time sitting in traffic
3) You can see only from the top which means sitting outside in the weather - not fun if 90s and humid - or rainig
4) They run rarely - every 30 minutes if you are lucky (compared to every 3 or 5 minutes for subway or regular city bus)
5) At popular stops the buses may already be full when it pull in - meaning waiting another 30 minutes

IMHO much better to just pick out where you want to go and see things. If you want to get a traveling view either take some of the city buses or look into the small van tours that keep you out of the weather - and you get to actually see specified sights/go inside - not waste hours waiting for a HoHo bus. (You can search this topic here and get recos for smaller tour buses if you insist on using them. We don;t use them anywhere after a first disastrous hour on a HoHo in London years ago).

City traffic is busy (walking pace) between 8 and 9:30 am and 4:30 to 7 pm. During the day is may or may not be a lot faster - depends on area, conditions, day of week, etc.

Taxi drivers are very highly regulated and except for fixed price airport runs the meter shows what you owe (plus a 20% tip). Not sure who said not to trust taxis but I take them all the time and have had only 2 problems in more than 20 years.

Subways in Manhattan are safe (and run 24/7/365). I would not take it at 2 am, since they run less frequently and taxis is much faster in no traffic. But they are crowded at rush hour. Also have never had a problem in the subway One friend had her wallet stolen - but she was a complete ditz and was constantly losing things/having them stolen since she carried a giant open purse that she would set down and ignore.
nytraveler is offline  
May 26th, 2014, 11:49 AM
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I thank you all for taking the time to help me. I have always gotten good advice from the people on Fodors and have yet to be disappointed by their advice.I live in New Orleans and hope you all will visit here one day. The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is as good as Mardi Gras. It is always the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May.All kinds of music and all kinds of our famous food.Thanks again,Iron&Silk( That's the name of my martial arts school.)
ironandsilk is offline  
May 26th, 2014, 11:53 AM
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A more interesting question - where are you coming from and what is the source of your information?

As a frequent New York visitor I use the subway all the time and have yet to encounter a thief. In fact have used subways all over the world and never saw a thief. Guess I am lucky.

Taxis are fine in New York. Haven't found a broken meter yet. My biggest problem is getting the credit card machine to work.

New York is either crowded or very crowded and traffic is slow to very slow. However, walking works pretty well and it is cheap.

Either your information sources are faulty or you naturally assume the worst.
fmpden is online now  
May 26th, 2014, 12:29 PM
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A good friend recently visited New york and felt cheated by her cabbie. She also recomended the subway. It was I who am skeptical.The first rule of self defense is do not place yourself in harms way.She also complained about the taxi's credit card service.Does this pattern seem trustworthy to you?
ironandsilk is offline  
May 26th, 2014, 12:50 PM
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I've been taking the subway for 20 years and have never personally experienced any thievery there, nor had a bad incident. I did once see a drunk guy being robbed on a deserted subway platform at 2am, but that was due as much to his stupidity and drunkenness as anything else. I could not recommend the subway more strongly.

Traffic in Manhattan is bad between the hours of 7:30 am and 8 pm. After that it's not that bad unless it's in the theater district right after the theaters let out or on some especially busy occasion like the opening of the UN.

I particularly dislike the HOHO buses and see lots of angry and disappointed tourists in the summer. But I don't think one bus company is particularly better or worse.

Taxi drivers can't really "cheat" you. The meters are set and locked. But they can take a roundabout route or just be stupid about where they are going. I almost always pay by credit card now and other than an occasional inoperable machine I've not had any problems, and I take cabs fairly regularly. I would not necessarily avoid taxis because of that, but I do see a lot of tourists hail regular black car service cars on the street. This is illegal, and these drivers do cheat tourists and charge exorbitant fares. I saw a group get into one in front of the museum of natural history on Wednesday, and they probably paid triple the regular cab fare.

So basically I agree that you worry too much. Just chill and enjoy yourself, and use public transit whenever you can. It's the best way to gat around this city, the nations safest big city.
doug_stallings is offline  
May 26th, 2014, 01:19 PM
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knowledge is power. Thanks so much for your good consel!
ironandsilk is offline  
May 26th, 2014, 01:44 PM
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OK - NYC is WAY safer than NO - it is the safest large city in the country. And the tourist areas (all of Manhattan and large parts of the outer boroughs) are not near any of the areas that do have higher incidences of street crime.

In summer the streets in central areas are busy at all hours and you should be safe unless you wander down dark alleys drunk at 3 am.

There can be pickpockets at Times Square and other heavily touristed areas - but if you guard your belongings carefully and pay attention to what is going on around you - there should be no problem.

Taxis are safe (sometimes scary rides but no cheating - you just pay the meter, including any extras showing due to using at off hours or adding luggage) and I have only had one driver with a fast meter and it was more than 10 years ago.
nytraveler is offline  
May 26th, 2014, 02:13 PM
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NYtraveler I don't disagree with you.Coming from a city with lots of crime I tend to be cautious.Thanks again!
ironandsilk is offline  
May 26th, 2014, 03:21 PM
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You have a marital arts school and you are worried about NY cabbies?

Please also note that NY has the best undercover cops and they cover the more widely used subways stations and trains. They have become very hard to spot since they did away with color of the day years ago.

Also here are a few more levels of comfort for taking a cab. Note the cabbie's number which is on the dome atop the cab and shown on in the inside. They also have GPS which can be used later, to see if a cabbie ripped off a fare. Also remember the name Meera Joshi. She is the name of the new commissioner of TLC which regulates cabbies. And just say she is a family friend, if they cabbie gives you crap.

We have a lot of family in and around NOLA but have only been back once since Katrina. Another trip is due.
IMDonehere is offline  
May 26th, 2014, 05:35 PM
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I see we were posting at the same posted so missed your reference to NO as you posted just ahead of me. If your friend is having problem with the cab it is her problem and not the cab driver. Feeling ripped off and being ripped off are two different issues. You can protect yourself from a round about driver in two ways. First, know where you are going. Use your smart phone to track your route. Second, there is a gps map in the cab - watch that. My reference to the credit card machine is not that it doesn't work but not all terminals are the same so I always am fumbling with the correct buttons to push. Just takes me more time.
fmpden is online now  
May 26th, 2014, 05:43 PM
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'Taxi drivers can't really "cheat" you. The meters are set and locked. '

This must be something fairly recent. Admittedly, it was years ago but the only time I had a transportation problem in NY it was with a cheat meter that spun over way too quickly than it should have. Coincidentally, I'd just read an article about NY taxis in NY Magazine and it noted that as a problem. We disagreed with the driver and gave him what we believed the true fare to be.

If what you say about the meters being locked is true, I'm happy to hear that.
goddesstogo is offline  
May 27th, 2014, 04:07 PM
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I've had taxis with fast meters (one or 2 in the last 10 years). Loved my visit to the Jazz Festival at NOLA years ago. I worked on HOHO buses for over 8 years and there are no good answers to the questions you have asked. I prefer helping people get over their subway and Central Park fears.
Most recently Twin America (Gray line and City Sights) has been fined by the government for being a monopoly - there are several new companies and I have no idea how often the buses run. There aren't many of them. This post is old but people still read it.

SueNYC is offline  

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