Over 1 billion people use New York City’s subway system every year. It is cheapest and most efficient way to travel while in the city. The subway doesn’t have to deal with the gridlock that plagues most of the streets in Manhattan, making taxi and bus rides less efficient than walking.
While it won’t provide you with spectacular city views, if traveling more than just a few blocks, the subway ride is worth the $2 fare. Tokens are no longer used to enter the subway platform, you must buy a MetroCard that can be used both to enter the subway and use city buses. Cards can be bought from ATM-style vending machines at subway stations, staffed token booths or MetroCard merchants. They can be bought as a Pay-Per-Ride card which you just put in a certain amount of money and keep refilling it as needed. An added bonus is for every $10 spent, you get a 20 percent bonus (equivalent to one free ride) and it can be swiped up to four consecutive times, making it ideal for visitors in a group. There are also Unlimited Ride cards that can be purchased as a 1-Day pass, 7-Day pass or 30-Day pass, and is good for unlimited rides during the time period.
All trains in Manhattan either go crosstown (east to west) or uptown and downtown (north to south). Trains are color-codes and either have a number or letter identifying the train. Train lines are never referred to by color, so make sure you know the number or letter of train if you need to ask for directions.
Riding the subway is relatively safe, but you still should use good judgment. If riding the subway late at night do not go into an empty car, ride in the car in which the train operator is located in, which is usually the middle car. When waiting for the subway, make sure you stand under the "Subway Stops Here" sign or are in view by personnel in the token booths. Sometimes it’s safer to splurge on a taxi cab late at night when the streets are less congested.