Overlooking some key metro tips
Some five million people a day take the subway in New York City, a population of more than half of the US states. It’s a lot of people! I don’t know you, but I can promise you that you are smarter than a lot of them. So the first step in using the metro: don’t be intimidated. Just do a little homework.
To find the best routes in advance (along with estimated travel times) or to check the service status for each line, use www.mta.info. Also download a metro map to your phone in case the Wi-Fi is working (we have it in metro stations now!) Or bring a paper version. This will be invaluable if something goes wrong while traveling, such as when a train is diverted to another train line or experiences a shutdown.
It might go without saying, but trains run in both directions, so be sure to board one of them in the desired direction. In Manhattan, most trains to Queens or the Bronx usually go north, while trains to Brooklyn go south.
Also note that some trains on the same line go “local” (stops at all stations) while others go “express” (stopping only at certain stations, for convenience). Usually, if you get on an express train by accident and miss your planned stop, that’s okay – just get on the local train going in the opposite direction and go back.