Safety in the City - How to ride the New York City Subway Safely

In 2014 an average of 5.6 million people rode the New York City Subway System per day with the busiest times being between the hours of 7 to 9 A.M. and from 4 to 6 P.M., so if you're planning to use the subway system to get around the city during your visit, you'll have a lot of company.A Young Couple looking at a Subway Map

Here are a few tips on how to ride the subway system safely, whether its the middle of the day or after midnight:

  • Know Where Your Going Before You Enter the System - You'll be amazed at the number of people who walk up to me on the subway with a piece of paper in hand with an address written on it and ask me how to get there. I'm sorry, but that's ridiculous.

    Finding out how to get to where you need to go on the subway couldn't be easier. Take a look the article Riding the NYC Subway Made Easy which explains in detail how to navigate the New York City subway system. If you're still having trouble, ask the Concierge at your hotel or the Token Booth Clerk at the entrance to the subway station.

  • Don't go down onto the tracks...ever! - You wouldn't think it's necessary to tell people that, but 141 people were struck by trains in 2012 and 55 of them were killed. If you drop something on the tracks, go tell the MTA employee in the booth or a police officer. Your life is worth more than an iPhone.

  • Avoid the Last Car - People with bad intent and the homeless frequent the back of the train.

  • Say a firm "No" to Aggressive Panhandlers - Don't let panhandlers and the homeless intimidate, or fool you. It's illegal to solicit in the subway and many of the sick or homeless you see doing so are actually con artists making a good living scamming people out of their money.

    New York City has a vast number of services for the homeless, for veterans, and for the sick and disabled. Go ahead and give if your heart tells you to, but if you'd rather not, a shake of the head or a firm "no" will cause most to move on.

  • If it's late, ride with the Conductor - You'll find people riding the subway well into the wee hours of the morning, especially in Manhattan. For safety's sake, you should ride in the car where the conductor is stationed which is in the middle of the train. He or she can summons NYPD easily if any problems arise.

  • When it's late, wait for the train in the Off-Hours Waiting Area - It's usually located near the Station Agent Booth or it can been seen by the Station Agent via video camera. You'll have plenty of time to get to the platform when the train comes.

Hopefully these tips will help you feel confident that you can safely navigate the New York City Subway System like a native.

Enjoy Your Visit