As the United States continues to rebound from the COVID pandemic, city streets are swiftly coming back to life. Once COVID restrictions are fully lifted, who knows how elated everyone around the country will be. Better, travelers will feel not just safer but will know that a huge monkey has been taken off their back. Soon, cities such as Boston, Washington, DC, New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco will once again be bustling with the tourism they once had pre-COVID. These cities are known for not just great people and well-known landmarks. Their subway systems are the most user-friendly. Better, they’re ready to be at travelers’ service again. Here are some helpful tips to using each of these cities’ subway systems. Their subway systems are the fuel that make these cities come to life. It pays for travelers to be familiar with what subway lines go where, and the “good to know” fares to making the most and best of any visit.

#5 Bay Area Rapid Transit-BART (San Francisco/Oakland, CA): For more than 45 years BART has provided fast, reliable transportation to both downtown San Franscisco and Oakland, shopping centers, tourist attractions, entertainment venues, universities and other destinations for Bay Area residents and visitors alike. In the San Francisco Bay area, visitors can now use a all-in-one service known as Clipper Card. Clipper is reusable, reloadable, and regionally accepted on other transit systems. All stations have Clipper vending machines. Funds are immediately available when using a BART vending machine. Clipper also can be accessed via an app supported on iPhone, Apple Watch, and Android phones. The regular one-way Clipper fare from San Francisco International Airport is $9.65, and $3.60 for senior citizens/disabled riders.

#4 Chicago Transit Authority (Chicago, IL): A stay in the Windy City is an experience like no other. The Chicago Transit Authority or CTA, makes it all possible. There’s plenty to enjoy and do in Chicago. With world-class parks, museums, shopping, hotels, nightlife, food and much more, there’s never a dull moment in the Windy City. At CTA station vending machine, riders can buy disposable tickets and reloadable Ventra Cards. Both can be used to store both value and passes for rides. Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) is located on the Blue Line, while Midway Airport (MDW) is located on the Orange Line. Chicago Union Station is on the CTA Blue Line (O’Hare-Forest Park via downtown). The CTA is a short walk away from Union Station. Riders access the CTA station by walking two blocks south along Clinton St. (on the west side of Union Station’s Great Hall) and enter the subway station under the viaduct just south of Van Buren Street.

#3 New York City Subway (New York, NY): There is nothing like visiting New York City, the Big Apple, or the city that never sleeps. Getting around New York City is not as complicated as some say. It’s more sophisticated, rather than complicated. There is not one place in New York City not connected by the New York City Subway. Sports and entertainment venues, museums, theatre areas, and transportation centers are all served by this great subway system. Fare for subway riders and local, limited, and bus services is $2.75. Riders can pay with the Metro Card or use the newly rolled out fare service known as OMNY. New York Penn Station is served by the A, C, E, 1, 2, 3 subway lines. New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport is accessible by the “A” line and “E” lines with connections to the JFK AirTrain.

#2 The “T” (Boston, MA): The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is the public agency responsible for operating most public transportation services in Greater Boston. Boston’s legendary subway, known as the “T”, is the oldest subway system in North America. The first subway train in Boston ran in 1898. Getting around Boston via subway is reasonably cheap. The cost of a Charlie Card, Charlie Ticket, or with cash is $2.40. A reduced fare card costs only $1.10. Riders with disabilities, riders of 65 years and older, middle and high school students, and riders at ages 18-25 with low income are eligible for this reduced fare. Boston’s Logan International Airport is accessible via the T’s Blue Line. Boston South Station is located on the Red Line, while North Station/TD Garden is located on the Green and Orange Lines.

#1 Metro (Washington, DC): The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, commonly referred to the Metro, is the most user-friendly subway system in the United States. Consisting of 6 lines, and spanning 117 miles across the Washington, DC area, it is the life blood of the nation’s capital. With the exception of the Georgetown area, there isn’t a single point of interest not accessible by the Metro subway. A 1-day Unlimited Pass gives riders the most bank for their buck on all subways and bus routes with no time restrictions. The pass is active for 24 hours-activated the first time the card is used. For those staying in the city longer, a 3-day Unlimited Pass is active upon the first time it’s used, and expires after 72 hours. Either way, visitors are sure to make the very best of their stay in the Washington, DC area. Washington, DC Union Station is located on the Red Line, with connections to other lines at Metro Center and Gallery Place/Chinatown. Ronald Reagan National Airport is located on the Yellow and Blue Lines. Downtown Washington, DC is a 20 minute ride away. The newest station, Dulles International Airport, will be accessible via the Silver Line. The Metro Silver Line extension to Dulles International Airport is expected to open to the public by Summer 2022.

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, a cruise magazine based in Vancouver, Canada and at Amtrak's story site, David also writes for the publication On, 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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