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Buses (New York City)

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With over 4500 buses offering over 200 local and 40 express routes, New York's buses carry over one million passengers every day and offer an efficient way to navigate the city. Considering that the whole fleet is air conditioned and handicapped accessible, the bus system is quite impressive! The bus system is meant to complement the MTA's rail lines - the New York City Subway, Staten Island Railway, Long Island Rail Road, and Metro-North Railroad. As such, transfers with MetroCard are free from bus to subway, local bus to local bus and subway to local bus. For transfers to express buses from local buses, an additional $3.00 is deducted from a Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard. With coins, transfers are available to different local buses only, with some restrictions. All transfers are good for two hours. In addition, transfers on Long Island Bus cost US$0.25, and are valid only between different Long Island Bus or Suffolk Transit routes. All other transfers are free with payment of fare.

Bus fare is $2.00, which you can pay in coins (but not dollar bills) or with a Metrocard. Since the introduction of Metrocard, you can transfer free between buses and from bus to subway, as well as enjoy economical day, week and month passes. The minimum cost for a Metrocard is $2. Farecard machines are located in most subway stations, and many newsstands sell Metrocards as well. In addition, various reduced-price fares apply for the elderly and handicapped. If you pay with coins, you may request a bus transfer, but you cannot transfer free to the subway.

By the way, bus (and subway) maps are free at any subway station token booth. You may also download any borough bus map (PDF format) and information online. We provide you links above at right. On board the bus, you'll also find a large map posted behind the driver's seat. Please note that the seats nearest the driver are designated for the elderly and handicapped. If you take the bus late at night, you may ask the driver to let you off at a specific point along the route; the driver will determine if it is safe to stop there.

Note: Buses are labeled with a number and a prefix identifying the primary borough (B for Brooklyn, Bx for the Bronx, M for Manhattan, Q for Queens, and S for Staten Island). Express buses use the letter X rather than a borough label. Lettered suffixes can be used to designate branches or variants. Between 10:00 PM (22:00) and 5:00 AM (05:00) "Request-a-Stop" service is available. The bus operator may discharge passengers at a location along the route that is not a bus stop, as long as it is considered safe. If the location is not "safe", the bus operator will discharge passengers at the nearest safe location.

The entire city bus fleet, operated by MTA/New York City Transit, is lift-equipped, has kneeling-bus features, wheelchair securement devices, public address systems, and seating spaces reserved for people with disabilities. Personal Care Attendants accompanying the customer can ride free. For more information on what the MTA New York City Transit offer people with disabilities and special needs click HERE. If you need more information on other transportation services available for people with disabilities, click HERE.

If you'd like to see bus maps for all five boroughs, click HERE.