Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

Getting Around Town | Advice on Transportation in the U.S.

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Wed, Oct 10, 2012 @ 11:26 AM

subway NYCAre you moving to the United States soon but still wondering how you will get around your new city?

Every city in the U.S. is different but if you are relocating to Boston or New York, there are some things you should know.

In this article, you will get six tips about transportation in Boston and New York so you can plan for a smooth ride during your first few months in the United States.



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Tip #1: Don't get a car

traffic jamIf you are planning to relocate to Boston or New York, you will not need a car!

Most people in these cities get around by subway, cab or on foot.

If you want to leave the city for a weekend, there are inexpensive bus routes between the large East Coast cities like Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.

If you ever want to go to the Hudson River Valley or Long Island, you can take Metro North on the weekends.

If you plan to live in a place like Long Island or in the suburbs far outside of Boston or New York where the train does not stop, you will want to think about getting a car. If not, you don't need a car!




Tip #2: Know the parking fees

parking meter BostonIf you decide to drive in the city, you will be stressed out. I promise! However, here is some information about parking fees in Boston and New York.

  • Street parking is free on Sundays in New York City and Boston
  • During the week in New York, street parking costs between $1 and $3 per hour. In Boston, the price is $1.25 per hour and you can pay at the meter on the curb
  • Read the street signs carefully. There are often sections of the curb where you cannot park
  • Renting a monthly parking space in New York will cost between $500 and $1,000 per month or more
Get more information about parking in New York City and parking in Boston




Tip #3: Take the train

 subway1. In New York, we call it the "subway": The New York City subway covers four boroughs (Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx). If you use the train at least twice per day, every day, it is cheaper for you to buy a monthly pass than it is for you to buy a ticket each time you ride. Here is more information about the MTA Subway fare system

It is safe! You might have visions of the NYC subway in the 1970's including crime, prostitutes, rats, etc. Well, the rats are still there but a lot of the crime is gone! You should stay away from isolated stations very late at night, especially in the outer boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx) but even at 2 a.m. it is hard to find an empty train and there is always a lot light on the platform and in the station.

2. In Boston, we call it the "T": The system in Boston is also the transportation method of choice for many "Beantown" dwellers. A single ride on the T in Boston costs $2.50 and a monthly pass is $70. In order to save money, I recommend you get a "Charlie Card" and re-fill it or get a monthly pass if you ride more than twice per day. Check out this link for Boston T prices and more information



Tip #4: Hail a cab

woman hailing a cab in New YorkTo hail (verb): To attract the attention of something by shouting or gesturing


  1. Look for cabs whose light is on. That means they are on duty. If the lights are off, they already have a passenger
  2. The fare starts at $2.50 in New York and $2.60 in Boston
  3. Taxi cabs can fit a maximum of 4 passengers
  4. Do not sit in the front unless you have more than 3 people in your group

Here is more information about cab fares in New York City and cab fares in Boston



Tip #5: Get a bike

bikingGreat news!

If you don't mind getting the wind in your hair, biking is a fantastic alternative to driving or taking the subway.

In both cities, there are clearly marked bike lanes in many places. Of course, you still have to be careful because cars will be wizzing by you but it can be a very quick and easy way to get around.

Boston just began a new bikeshare system called Hubway.

Learn more about Hubway and how you can use it

Check out these resources to learn more about NYC bike paths and Boston bike paths



Tip #6: Just walk it!


new york city walkingA great rule to remember is this: In both Boston and New York, if your destination is fewer than 10 blocks away, forget the subway or cab and just walk.

Ten blocks in New York is half of a mile. You will arrive at your destination in half of the time that you would spend sitting in traffic or waiting for the subway.

Plus, walking is the best thing about living in these great cities! Think of it as an adventure! You will stay in shape, you will clear your mind and you never know what you will see and who you will meet.


I am sure that you have many more questions about transportation in your new life in Boston or New York! If you have a question, feel free to drop us an email and we will try to help.

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Photo credits: PhillipC,    ishane, faster panda, jareed,   Burning Image, soopahgrover, Luke Wisley

Topics: Daily Life in the US, Life in Boston, Life in New York

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