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Prebook train tickets

England
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Prebook train tickets

Long haul flight into Newark, need to get to 5th Ave. my research says Airtrain, then NJ train to Penn NY, then either cab or subway to hotel. But is there a better way.? Can We get from airport to Grand Central without changing? Can we get tickets online before we travel or are they only available from ticket machines? We will be very tired when we land and don't want to be wandering around looking like bemused tourists. We ruled taxis and shuttles out because we land at mid day, traffic will be heavy then.

New York NY
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1. Re: Prebook train tickets

Taxi will be expensive and will sit in traffic. Shuttles will ruin your whole trip.

There is a bus - www.newarkairportexpress.com - the bus goes directly from the terminals to Grand Central with stops at Port Authority and Bryant Park. It may be a little easier, even if it spends a bit more time in traffic - the reason I say it may be easier is that it avoids the subway or taxi from Penn to Grand Central.

The train is very easy. You do not pre-book tickets. Before you go up the escalator from the passenger terminal at Newark Airport to the AirTrain area, there are ticket machines. They've made them very user-friendly. The tourists who don't speak English figure it out with ease - you'll be fine. It is self explanatory - no counting out zone numbers or trying to work out how much value to put on. You simply touch a button that says Adult one-way to New York Penn. Then it says $12.50 and asks how many tickets do you want, cash or credit.

AirTrain Newark to the rail transfer station where there are uniformed people and more ticket machines just in case you have not already purchased your ticket. Board the next NJ Transit train to NY Penn (last stop). Then you either get into a taxi *or* directly opposite Penn Station on 32nd Street, the M.4 and the Q.32 buses start their run. Those two buses follow exactly the same route across 32nd St. and up Madison Avenue through the Grand Central area. Where exactly are you going?

Note - You'd need to buy a MetroCard inside Penn Station but this shouldn't be difficult.

England
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2. Re: Prebook train tickets

Thanks for quick reply. We are staying at holiday inn express 5th ave. It all seems a bit daunting although we do regularly travel around London on the tube and find it easy. However, in NY we will be tired and have luggage so naturally want as little hassle as possible. We have considered the airport express but there are mixed reviews on TR about it not turning up, unhelpful drivers, demanding correct fares etc. however, I'm sure there must be some who have good reports about it. It certainly seems the easier option and we could get off at either Bryant park or GC.

New York NY
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3. Re: Prebook train tickets

Are you staying at the one at 13 W. 45th Street in Manhattan? Very good location.

The bus is perfectly fine. Here is the story with the bus. People write reviews about hotels and restaurants whether they like it, hate it, or find it somewhere in the middle. People like to write and blog about hotels and restaurants so you tend to see lots of positive reviews of good restaurants and good hotels. People don't really write about bus experiences unless they're bad. People don't say wow, the bus turned up on-time, the bus took exactly how much time I expected it to take, let me write or blog about it.

The bus is indeed subject to traffic. There are occasional times when there is an accident in the tunnel and everything falls apart. I work with a lot of people who commute from New Jersey and who normally get in at 8:00AM. On occasion, there will be a crash in the tunnel and it will shut everything down - these folks show up at lunch time after having been held hostage on the highway for 5 hours. It doesn't happen often but it does happen. I'd hate to be relying on Newark Airport Express or a sedan on a day like that.

The people that work at the airport for Newark Airport Express are probably never going to win any awards for customer service. It is what it is. A lot of the people at Newark Airport, not just the people working for the bus, are really not very happy people. Newark Airport has always been widely regarded as an airport filled with very unhappy and often unpleasant employees. I don't know if the LaGuardia and JFK simply pay higher living wages or what but Newark Airport really has some seriously unpleasant people.

I wouldn't simply write the bus off the list because of those bad reviews. I would politely ask the not-so-friendly people working for the bus if there are any known major delays such as an accident in the tunnel. If there are hundreds of people milling around the bus stop angry and disgruntled, I'd assume something were wrong and I'd head for the train. I'd pack some patience. In theory, you shouldn't have to wait more than 15 minutes but I'd say alright, this is convenient, it is going to save me some hassle at Penn Station, it is going to save me 75% off what it would cost for a party of two in a taxi (with toll and tip and surcharges) - I'll give it some time - it is spring, it is pleasant outside - I'm not standing outside in the harshest January / February weather - fresh air, stretching my legs, I think you'll be fine.

I think people expect a well-oiled machine and get angry if there are delays due to traffic. This is a real working city and unfortunately delays and traffic are part of life in such a densely populated metro area.

I hope this is helpful.

England
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4. Re: Prebook train tickets

Thank you again. We are now beginning to sway toward the bus. In all honesty. Although our flight is only 8 hrs, it is an early morning flight so we will have been up for many hrs and will be tired. Having to face an airtrain, train, then either taxi or subway isn't appealing. Also, it says on the web site that tickets can be booked online. I think we might buy one way tickets and then if there is any problems with traffic, it won't be too much to lose if we have to revert to the train.

New York NY
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5. Re: Prebook train tickets

Newark Airport Express is generally very reliable. I see the buses all the time and I know where they queue up between runs on East 41st Street. They're generally perfectly fine.

Like I said, there have been two or three times over the past 5+ years that I recall crashes (not involving Newark Airport Express buses) in the Lincoln Tunnel and everything being shut down for extended periods of time.

If you're going to worry about that, then you might as well start worrying about getting struck by lightning.

Edited: 30 March 2013, 18:29
New York NY
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6. Re: Prebook train tickets

I should have mentioned - you get off the bus at the Bryant Park stop - not Grand Central.

The driver will let you off on 42nd Street near 6th Avenue, I would walk up 6th Avenue (in the direction of vehicular traffic - 6th Ave. is one-way for cars). Walk up 6th to 45th St. (a 2 - 3 minute walk). You'll take a right on 45th. You'll walk against the flow of vehicular traffic on W. 45th St. (again one-way for cars) and your hotel will be on your left about two thirds of the way down.

Great location.

Bear in mind this immediate area doesn't have the very best restaurants for dinner but you can simply walk to the corner (5th Avenue) and get the NYC bus down to Greenwich Village. There are Limited buses during the week that are even faster. Your unlimited ride MetroCard will work on the bus and the subway (not the buses to / from New Jersey but the buses in New York City).

The M.1, M.2, M.3 & M.5 head down to Greenwich Village and it is a very pleasant ride past the Empire State Building, the Flatiron Building, Lower Fifth Avenue and across 8th Street to Astor Place. The M.1 and M.3 are not Limited - they stop near 45th. All buses stop at 42nd St. (south side). Limited buses stop at 42nd, 33rd (for the Empire State Building), 23rd (for Flatiron), 14th (for Union Square) and then on 8th St.

The M.5 bus continues on to SoHo, Chinatown, past City Hall and into the Financial District and to South Ferry.

Uptown buses run along Madison Avenue and 6th Avenue.

The uptown M.5 and M.7 on 6th Avenue will take you to Central Park, past Columbus Circle and up to the Upper West Side.

England
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7. Re: Prebook train tickets

Much appreciated advice. Could I ask what do you mean by limited buses? I have read that Greenwich Village is a great place to visit, so it is already on our list. Only 4 weeks to go now. I'm afraid that we will be doing all the touristy things as its our first visit to NY and thats what first time visitors do isn't it? Although we are travelling on to other cities , I'm really excited about NY.

New York NY
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8. Re: Prebook train tickets

On the avenues, there are both regular and "limited" buses.

On Fifth Avenue for instance, regular buses stop every three blocks while Limited buses stop only at major intersections roughly every 9 - 10 blocks.

For instance, all the city buses coming down Fifth Avenue stop at Rockefeller Center (49th / 50th Streets). The regular buses stop around 47th and 44th and then all buses stop at 42nd. Going downtown, limited buses stop at 42nd, 33rd, 23rd, 14th, 8th. Regular buses that aren't clearly marked "Limited" will also stop at 39th and 36th, etc.

Say you are heading up Madison or Sixth and you want to get off the bus at 45th, if you're on Limited and you don't get off at 42nd, you'll end up at 49th. No big deal. The Limited buses generally save you time.

Portland, Maine
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9. Re: Prebook train tickets

The bus terminology is confusing. There are regular buses, "limited buses," "select buses," and "express buses."

I think you've already been given the information on regular and limited buses. Assuming you have a weekly Metrocard (which you should get) you just dip these to pay the fare on either of these two types of buses.

Select buses are a new category. Right now they are only available on a few lines. They charge the regular fare, but you need to get a receipt from a vending machine at the bus stop. You need to do this even if you have a Metrocard, but you won't pay anything for the receipt. (If you have pay per ride Metrocards the fare will be deducted from the card when you get the receipt.) You don't do anything on the bus itself, and can even enter by the back door. You need to be prepared to show your ticket if there happens to be an inspector on board. Like the limited buses, they make fewer stops than the regular buses.

Any route with limited or select service will also have regular buses on the route.

Express buses are different. These are intended for commuters from and to the outer boroughs. They make only a few stops in the Manhattan business districts. They have a higher fare. You're unlikely to have any reason to use them though.

Edited: 31 March 2013, 00:08
Portland, Maine
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10. Re: Prebook train tickets

Correction. There will be select bus routes that don't have regular bus alternatives and will make regular stops. They're intended to speed things up in the boarding process.

Edited: 31 March 2013, 00:10