Is there a New York Subway Pass for Tourists?
Transport

Is there a New York Subway Pass for Tourists? (2019 Fares)

If you are planning on staying in New York just for a few days, you might be asking yourself, what subway pass is the best option for you. One question we get at VOLATOUR frequently is:

 

Is there a New York subway pass for tourists?

The short answer is: No.

 

Until 2010 it was possible to purchase a 1-Day Fun Pass and/or a 14-Day Unlimited Pass. Unfortunately, those days are long gone. But don’t worry – Even if you are in New York just for a short time, there are some affordable alternatives that come very close to a New York subway pass for tourists or a New York subway day pass.

MetroCard New York | VOLATOUR

 

Here is our overview of alternatives. Click on one to jump right to the option you are interested in.

 

#1 Single Ride(s)

#2 7-Day Unlimited

Example Calculation

 

Single Rides MTA

 

#1 Single Ride(s) ($3)

Although there is no New York subway day pass, the single ride or also called pay-per-ride option might be a suitable alternative for you. It really depends on how frequently you are planning on taking the subway. This option might be the right choice for tourists, who mostly stay in Manhattan and walk a lot. However, others, who want to explore Brooklyn in the morning and the Bronx in the afternoon, while making stops on their way in Queens and Manhattan, should have a look at the 7-Day Unlimited Pass. (Check our example calculation below for more insights.)

Single Ride Variation 1:

You don’t have a yellow MetroCard and don’t want to purchase one

You can go to any MetroCard ticket machine and purchase a single ride for $3 (2019 price) using cash or your ATM/credit card. The ticket machine will issue a green MetroCard. Once you swiped it and entered the subway station, you can travel for up to 2 hours. This should be sufficient to reach your destination. The card is not reusable, so you can safely throw it away afterwards.

 

Single Ride Variation 2:

You need/want to purchase a yellow MetroCard first and then top it up

If you don’t possess a yellow MetroCard, you have to buy yourself one first. Follow these 3 simple steps to buy a $9 credit MetroCard:

Step 1: Select language

Step 2: Select ‘Fast $9 MetroCard’ (You’ll pay $1 fee for the MetroCard, but you’ll have the rest as credit

Step 3: Pay via cash, ATM or credit card

After you have paid, your MetroCard will be issued and you can swipe your card until the credit is used up. Always remember to keep an eye on your balance.

Single Ride Variation 3:

You already have a yellow MetroCard and want to top it up

If you already possess a yellow MetroCard, you also have the option to top up your card with a credit from $5.50 to $80 – again, this is possible at any ticket machine. These are the options you need to select at the machine:

Step 1: Select language

Step 2: Select ‘MetroCard’

Step 3: Select ‘Refill your card’

Step 4: Insert your MetroCard

Step 5: Select ‘Add value’

Step 6: Select the amount you want to add

Step 7: Pay via cash, ATM or credit card

After you have completed your purchase, your MetroCard will be issued again and you can use it as long as you have credit on it. Remember: Each time you swipe it, the system will deduct $3. So make sure, this option is really suitable for your needs and gets close to the budget you would find reasonable for a New York subway day pass.

 

7-Day Unlimited MTA

 

#2 7-Day Unlimited ($33)

Topping up your MetroCard with a week pass is probably the closest you get to a New York subway pass for tourists, especially if you are planning on taking the subway more frequently. You can easily judge whether or not this is the right option for you, by estimating how often you will need the subway – if single rides add up to more than a week pass, you can safely choose this option (have a look below at our example calculation).

Here is what you need to know: The 7-Day Unlimited MetroCard is valid for 7 days and costs $33. This pass allows you to take advantage of the subway and the busses at any time and as often as you need during those 7 days. The best thing is, you don’t need to check your balance all the time! In order to get a 7-Day-Unlimited pass, it is necessary to purchase a yellow MetroCard first.

Tip: Buy a 7-Day Unlimited Pass in advance online at VOLATOUR!

MetroCard New York | VOLATOUR

7-Day Unlimited Variation 1:

You need to purchase a yellow MetroCard first, followed by adding a 7-Day Unlimited pass

If you don’t have a yellow MetroCard, then you have to follow these steps in order to purchase a week pass:

Step 1: Select language

Step 2: Select ‘MetroCard’

Step 3: Select ‘Get New card’ ($1 fee applies)

Step 4: Select ‘Unlimited Ride’

Step 5: Select ‘7-Day-Unlimited’ ($33 in 2019)

Step 6: Pay via cash, ATM or credit card

After your payment you will receive your MetroCard with the 7-Day-Unlimited pass. Time to ride the subway as often as you can without checking your MetroCard balance all the time! Pretty much the same as a New York subway pass for tourists, right?

7-Day Unlimited Variation 2:

You already have a yellow MetroCard and want to top it up

If you already have a yellow MetroCard, follow these steps to top up your card with a week pass:

Step 1: Select language

Step 2: Select ‘MetroCard’

Step 3: Select ‘Refill your card’

Step 4: Insert your MetroCard

Step 5: Select ‘Add time’

Step 6: Select ‘7-Day-Unlimited’ ($33 in 2019)

Step 7: Pay via cash, ATM or credit card

Next, your MetroCard, which has been updated with a 7-Day Unlimited pass, is ready to get swiped until the 7 days are over.

 

MTA Pass Example Calculation

For our example calculation we take our fictional character Mary, who visits New York for 4 days with a group of friends. The group has a tight schedule during the day, but they also want to enjoy the nightlife. They were checking for a New York subway pass for tourists, but since there is no such ticket available, they are thinking about purchasing single rides.

Here is their travel plan based on single rides:

Day 1: Arrival at JFK. Take train and subway to hotel in Midtown ($3). Leave hotel for drinks and a stroll through central Manhattan.

Day 2: Manhattan tour starting in Harlem and ending at Battery Park (Probably 4 x $3).

Day 3: Bronx sightseeing (Probably 2 x $3). Back to hotel in Manhattan ($3), dress up for the night. Sightseeing in Brooklyn and night out in various clubs in Brooklyn (Probably 2 x $3). Back to hotel ($3).

Day 4: Leaving hotel, going to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens ($3) and then heading back to JFK ($3).

Total subway single rides: 13 x $3 = $39

Tip: Buy a 7-Day-Unlimited Pass ($33)

 

Summary

You see, even though there is no New York subway ticket for tourists or New York subway day pass, there are similar options and alternatives to achieve the same effect. We hope this article helped you deciding which option is the most useful one for your needs. For more information check MTA’s website (Metropolitan Transportation Authority). Let us know in the comment section, if you have any questions. We are here to help you!

 

HAPPY SWIPING!

 

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