The COVID pandemic had New York City in a vice grip. The pandemic is finally nearing its end. New Yorkers and all travelers alike are breathing a sigh of relief. When the COVID pandemic began, all of the New York area mass transit hubs became ghost towns. What once were busting places-Grand Central Terminal, Penn Station, the World Trade Center PATH station, and Hoboken Terminal all shared in the pain. Now, these places are welcoming back the crowds. At peak hours, they bring an unsurpassable level of energy the area. What’s New York without its mass transit systems? Without them, the city doesn’t move, the city lacks nostalgia, and worst of all-the city would have no identity. For a would-be traveler visiting the New York area, how does one navigate the New York area without confusion? To be honest, there shouldn’t be any confusion to begin with. It’s more sophisticated, rather than complicated. Travelers should relax. Exploring and appreciating New York, while utilizing the four New York mass transit systems is a “walk in the park”; not “Hell on Earth”.

#4 Long Island Railroad: The Long Island Railroad has a long history. It was once a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The Long Island Railroad, or referred to by New Yorkers as the LIRR, is one of the two most crucial mass transit carriers connecting Manhattan with the outside suburbs. The Long Island Railroad extends from Manhattan to the eastern tip of Suffolk County on Long Island. It is also one of the world’s few commuter systems that runs 24/7 year-round. It is made of up 124 stations and 700 miles of track. Passengers board Long Island Railroad trains at the new Moynihan Hall at Penn Station. Travelers arriving and departing from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) can take the JFK Air Train to Jamaica Station. There, they can connect with the Long Island Railroad to Penn Station and Brooklyn’s Atlantic Terminal. To make traveling on the Long Island Railroad, a new 20-trip ticket is available. This new ticket offers a 20% discount on regular peak fares. It can be used for travel to or from Manhattan, and can be used by more than one person, even when traveling together. It is valid for 60 days from the date of purchase.┬áTravelers can visit mta.info for further details.

#3 Metro-North Railroad: What would traveling between New York City, upstate New York, and Connecticut be without the Metro-North Railroad? Similar to the Long Island Railroad, the Metro-North Railroad is comprised of 124 stations and made up of 787 miles of track. Metro-North serves the New York City area, as well as the northern New York suburbs and the seaboard communities in Connecticut. It is the third busiest commuter railroad in North America. Getting around via Metro-North is a piece of cake. For example, a round-trip ticket to and from the New York Botanical Garden is $19.50 during peak hours, and $14.50 during off-peak hours. When the Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show is in progress, this ticket option is well-recommended. Passengers should avoid paying their fare onboard, which carries a surcharge. Metro-North stations such as Stamford and New Rochelle allow passengers to connect with Amtrak. Further fare and schedule information is available at mta.info.

#2 PATH: PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) is a 13.8-mile rapid transit system in the northeastern New Jersey cities of Newark, Harrison, Jersey City, and Hoboken, as well as Lower and Midtown Manhattan. The PATH is the simplest mass transit system in the New York area. It conveniently connects all major cities in the New York area. PATH allows passengers to effortlessly connect with New Jersey Transit, Long Island Railroad, New Jersey Transit rail, and New Jersey Transit light-rail trains. Riding on the PATH is by far straightforward and inexpensive. On the New York City subway, riders still use the Metro Card. The PATH honors the Metro Card, making the commuting experience as pleasurable as imagined. The cost per ride is $2.75. Riders can also purchase a Smart Link card, which enables them to ride multiple times for a set cost. A 10-trip Smart Link card costs $26.00 and a 20-trip Smart Link card costs $52.00. The cost per ride on either card is $2.60. PATH is not just a smart-run system. It serves as the “PATH” to traveling conveniently and stress-free. Travelers can visit panynj.gov for further information.

#1 New Jersey Transit: New Jersey Transit is the nation’s third largest provider of bus, rail and light rail service, linking major points in New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia. New Jersey Transit operates over 2,000 buses, over 1,200 trains, and more than 90 light-rail trolleys. How easy is it to use New Jersey Transit? Fare-wise, to ride from Newark International Airport (EWR) to New York Penn Station (NYP) is $15.25. Children and senior citizens (ages 5-11) ride for $11.25. A 10-trip fare is $119.00. It gets even better. Traveling to the New Jersey Shore from New York Penn Station cannot be any more convenient. An adult one-way fare is $16.25, while children (ages 5-11) and senior citizens pay a one-way fare of $7.65. New Jersey Transit passengers can also easily connect with PATH and Amtrak at Newark Penn Station. The New Jersey Transit Light-rail is even simpler. A one-way ride from Hoboken Terminal to 34th Street in Bayonne is $2.25. Children (ages 5-11) and senior citizens pay a one-way fare of $1.10. For those who plan to sail on Royal Caribbean or Celebrity from Cape Liberty, 34th Street is their station. For additional fare information, travelers can visit NJTransit.com.

New York City is emerging from two years of darkness and uncertainty. With the ending of the COVID pandemic quickly approaching, the excitement cannot be any greater. The New York area is bouncing back better than ever. The people of the New York area are at the ready to welcome travelers back more friendlier than ever. If COVID has taught the people of the New York area anything, it would be how much stronger and how much better it will be once it is officially over. There is simply no better way to explore the New York/New Jersey area than via the convenient mass transit systems it has to offer. From user-friendly stations, to convenient schedules, to reasonable fares for all ages, each and every one of the New York area’s mass transit carriers are the way to go. There isn’t one place in the New York area that isn’t mass transit accessible. Wherever the place-of-interest may be, let it be a train, bus, or light-rail trolley leading the way. From the glitz and glamour of Broadway, to the sound of number crunching on Wall Street, to the mystique of the High Line, and the sand, sun, and surf of its beaches, its mass transit systems are part of the reason why New York is never asleep, and forever alive.

About Author

David Kriso has been a travel writer since August 2011. He is a contributing writer for both of his hometown's newspapers, The Gazette, and The Observer. His articles focus on cruise and railroad travel. David is also published online at ProwsEdge.com, a cruise magazine based in Vancouver, Canada and at Amtrak's story site, Whistlestop.Amtrak.com. David also writes for the publication Examiner.com. On Examiner.com, he writes about cruise and rail travel. David is a long-time train traveler, avid cruiser, and a Disney traveler since age 4.

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