New York rent a car, taxi and getting around

Getting around the city

Various transportation options are available in New York City but the easiest ways of getting around are walking, taking advantage of the public transport system, or taking taxis when the need arises.

Subway

The subway is an affordable way of getting around the city and when you have a baby carrier, going on the subway is as easy as going without a baby. However, you should avoid rush hour as it can be a challenge to get crammed in with crowds with a baby or kids in tow.

Prams are helpful too, however, take note that not all stations have lifts. Most of them have stairs and that can make manoeuvring a pram complicated. You might end up having to carry the pram up and down plenty of stairs and that’s not a good start to your New York sightseeing plans.

If you have the strength and the patience to carry a pram up and down the stairs, plan your route and check the list of accessible subway stations. Remember that handholding and vigilant supervision are a must to prevent little ones from wandering away and getting lost. Pay attention to your stop to prevent zooming past your intended station.

Your first step in using the subway as well as the buses of the city is to get yourself a MetroCard and put in a minimum value of $5.50. Automated machines in subway stations allow you to top up your MetroCard. Use your bank card, credit card, or cash, and Bob’s your uncle, you have just topped up your MetroCard. Another option is the unlimited MetroCard which allows users to ride as often as they want within a specific period.

Transfer for free from subway to bus or vice versa within two hours of using your MetroCard. However, this no longer applies if you leave the subway station through the turnstile and get on a different subway line.

Taxi

One of the most convenient ways of getting around the city is by taking a taxi. The city’s fleet of yellow taxis is available 24 hours a day and hotel doormen can hail a cab for you but remember that it is customary to tip at least a dollar for his service. All taxis accept cash, prepaid, debit, and credit cards. Remember to board and exit the taxi curbside.

It’s legal to travel in a taxi throughout the city without car seats, so if you prefer to use one, you can either bring your own car seat or hire a taxi that already has one. In addition to taxis, other popular app-based options are also available, such as Lyft and Uber.

They come with car seats but they are the forward-facing variety that’s suitable for children aged 12 months and over. Companies such as Kidmoto and Black Lane have taxis with car seats but they are more expensive. Kidcar is an airport transport service that guarantees car seats for kids.

Buses

Buses are not the best modes of transportation if you have babies because they don’t allow open prams. However, there may be times when you have no other choice but to take the bus. Just remember the rules and take a baby carrier instead.

Easy, accessible, and inexpensive, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, also known as the MTA New York Transit, has a fleet of almost six thousand buses. A great way to see the five boroughs, buses operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can make navigating the system more straightforward by downloading the MTA’s official app MYmta and having it ready before you arrive in the city.

Hundreds of tourist bus companies operate in the city and they are an excellent way to see the city with children. Some of them offer an unlimited daily pass which allows passengers to hop on and hop off throughout the day at their leisure. There’s no pre-arranged itinerary so you can go as you please. Lastly, children love double-decker buses, so it’s a win-win.

Ferry

New York is a waterfront city and is home to an extensive ferry system. You can safely get downtown, and uptown by ferry. Furthermore, you can get to Brooklyn, Staten Island, New Jersey, Queens, and the Bronx by ferry.

The family will have an enjoyable and relaxing journey that also offers breathtaking views as a bonus. Being on a ferry also allows everyone to see the city from a different perspective. The Staten Island Ferry is a staple of many sightseers with a route that’s been used since 1905. The NYC Ferry is a city-wide network with multiple stops. It cost the same as a subway ride and children below 44” don’t have to pay.

Lastly, NY Waterway operates commuter ferries between various points in New Jersey and Manhattan. They have sightseeing cruises too.

Car

Renting a car is the least preferred mode of seeing the city because not only is it expensive, traffic can be slow too. If you’re planning to drive around New York, use Google Maps to help you navigate the roads and make sure you know where to park. A website you can use to compare parking locations and rates is bestparking.com. In addition, some apps that allow booking a parking spot in advance such as SpotHero.

Tram

The Roosevelt Island Tram operates like buses and subways but it travels in cable 250 feet above the East River and it goes only to Roosevelt Island from Manhattan and back. The little ones might recognize it from that unforgettable scene in the 2002 movie Spider-Man. You can use your MetroCard to enjoy this scenic trip.

Bike

Biking is a healthy and environmentally-friendly way to get around the city. However, it is not recommended for families with small children. It is much more appropriate for families with teenagers. You can hit the city on two wheels on cycling hotspots such as Prospect, Riverside, and Central Parks. Check routes using Ride the City and have a look at Transportation Alternatives for resources on biking. Furthermore, the NYC Department of Transportation has a downloadable bike map, as well as a biking guide.

On foot

Of course, one of the best and most popular ways of getting around the city is walking. Again, just like biking, this may not be feasible for families with little kids, especially those not used to walking long distances. However, the city is fairly flat, which makes exploring it on foot a possibility.

Be aware that locals will be walking around the city too and New Yorkers move quickly. They tend to get irritated by tourists who move slowly, especially those who don’t have situational awareness. Be mindful of your surroundings and don’t stop in the middle of busy sidewalks to take pictures.

Hold the hands of little ones when walking the streets and look both ways when crossing as traffic may come from the right or left on a one-way street. Do not assume that cars will stop for you even if there is a Walk signal and lastly, have a plan in case you become separated and discuss it with the family.

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