Discussion relating to the past and present operations of the NYC Subway, PATH, and Staten Island Railway (SIRT).

Moderator: GirlOnTheTrain

  by umtrr-author
Some of you might be amused by my pure tourism on the subway last Friday (28th). I had a very rare day to myself with no particular agenda, and here's how I spent most of it...

After getting off the PATH at the World Trade Center stop, I blundered around in the rain looking for the right subway entrance. It's amazing how disoriented I still am coming up from the big escalator bank and not understanding exactly where I am, but that's what happens when I come into town only once or twice a year.

Got on the E, took it to Canal, then switched to the A for what I'd hoped would be a high speed run up to 168th. Once again, no such luck... the C train was making better time with stops.

Transferred to the uptown 1 at 168th. My intent was to ride the part of the 1 that goes above ground, but I had forgotten which part that was, so I figured I'd go north first. So up to 242nd/Van Cortlandt Park, and then back down again to 96th. The part I was specifically looking for is between 120th and 130th including the 125th Street station.

The 3 from 96th to 42nd, and then over to the S for Grand Central, one of the answers to the question, "Where's a reasonable place to eat without having to go outside?" I also wanted to see the Colorama Exhibit that's at the NYC Transit Store in Grand Central. That exhibit was loaned to the MTA by the George Eastman House here in town, which had a larger exhibit of Colorama photos in its museum in 2010.

After lunch, the 4 to Fulton, then the A to Hoyt-Schemerhorn, and then a walk over to the Transit Museum. I hadn't been there since the admission was a subway token. It's $7 now but well worth the visit.

There was an interruption in the train travel for a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, something I'd always wanted to do and something that helped burn off the Shake Shack stop. (The chocolate malt was OK, if a little overpriced, but I digress.)

I got on the 6 at City Hall and rode to Broadway/Lafayette to try out the just-opened transfer from the uptown 6 to the Sixth Avenue Line trains. This didn't make the F train show up any faster though... so I took the B to 47-50 Rockefeller Center and awaited an F there.

The F through the 63rd Street Tunnel, including the Roosevelt Island Station, since I'd never been through it (it opened 2 months after I left the metro area). Then the fast run through to Jackson Heights, and back on the E to 23rd/Ely. I hadn't been to that station since before it was connected to the G & 7, and of course I had to try that transfer. Amazing how the building of a skyscraper office tower (Citibank's) will sometimes spur the rehab of a transit station...

I took the 7 back over to Times Square and then picked up the 2 at 42nd to Chambers, thence back on the 1 to South Ferry since I hadn't been there since the new station had opened. That meant that I'd actually covered an entire line, the 1, in one day, although in two parts.

I got off at South Ferry and took the Staten Island Ferry to St. George for a round trip on the Staten Island Railway. Fun fact: The SIR is considered to be a "free transfer" if you've been on a subway train in Manhattan (within a certain time limit, I would imagine), so no fare extracted off my Metrocard. I was able to grab the Tottenville Express southbound with first stop at Great Kills, and the local back. The train rocks and rolls... I think some more maintenance might be in order for the SIR.

From there it was back on the Ferry and then up the R Train to Cortlandt and the PATH. It probably would have been faster to walk given the 20 minute wait for the Northbound R.

With the exception of the R and the slow northbound A, I'd say that things were pretty efficient. Signage and directions seem to have been improved, and the temporary service change notifications (for construction) were everywhere. The stations also seem to be as clean or cleaner than I remember them, as were the cars. All were air conditioned except the one I was in on the Tottenville Express on the SIR (see above note about maintenance...).

All in all, I hit all five boroughs in one day, which I have never done previously despite having gone to school and worked in the city for a number of years. The things those crazy tourists do...
  by Head-end View
Interesting that you got the free transfer to the SIR after riding the subway to South Ferry. That's a good deal. Now if only we could see out the front on the ride to Tottenville and back.........
  by umtrr-author
I was surprised also, but then, this is the first time I'd ever tried that transfer. The only other time I rode the line it was still called "Staten Island Rapid Transit" and it was for just a few stops around the Dongan Hills station (if I recall correctly).

On another thread here, lirr42 posted the scoop on the transfers:
MTA Tariff Policy wrote:
Pay your fare with Pay-Per Ride MetroCard and transfer free between SIR and local buses or subways as long as you use your MetroCard again within two hours. Use an Unlimited Ride MetroCard and ride as many times as you like, including transfers.

If you ride a local Staten Island bus to SIR, you can transfer free to SIR and then transfer again free to these lower Manhattan subways and buses:

(1) at South Ferry
(4)(5) at Bowling Green or Wall St
(2)(3)(4)(5)(A)(C)(J)(Z) at Broadway-Nassau/Fulton St
(2)(3) at Wall St
(J)(Z) at Broad St
(N)(R) at Whitehall St or Rector St
and the M5, M20 and M15 +SBS+ buses
  by Head-end View
Well, I have to admit this is a good thing that Metrocard technology has brought us. I really don't like fare cards and I often wish transit systems would have stayed with good old tokens that were simple to buy and use. But these computer-generated transfers are a valuable feature.
UMTRR: Good overview of your day using NYC Transit...Nothing wrong with being a Tourist!

I want to mention that a Metrocard transfer is valid for exactly 2 hours 16 minutes elapsed time
from when you enter a station or ride a bus...At each station there are Metrocard readers that
also show the time of day...it pays to note this before you enter a station so you know how much
time that you have to use a transfer...A P-P-R Transfer is valid primarily for the other mode
(Ex: Subway to Bus) or for use on other NYC Transit services like the SIR...

The SIR does allow a transfer to enter at St.George and upon exiting there you can use your
Metrocard to board NYCT in Manhattan after leaving the SI Ferry to transfer at no extra charge...

The things to remember about Metrocard use is that you can not use an Unlimited card at the
same station or on the same bus route for 18 minutes from the time of use and that up to
four transfers can be encoded on the same Pay-Per-Ride card provided that $9 or four rides
is placed on a P-P-R card...Those can be passed back for up to four users...

It does pay to know basic Metrocard rules using NYCT...MACTRAXX
  by lirr42
Another MetroCard Fun Fact: if you ride the AirTrain JFK frequently (or with up to four people at once) you can get a 10-trip MetroCard (a $50 value) for only $25 (half price). So if you use all the rides within 6 months(?) you only end up paying $2.50 per ride instead of $5. (A group of 4 can even save $15 with this option, and not even use the other 2 swipes)

That MetroCard can only be used on the AirTrain JFK, however.
  by umtrr-author
Head-end View wrote:Well, I have to admit this is a good thing that Metrocard technology has brought us. I really don't like fare cards and I often wish transit systems would have stayed with good old tokens that were simple to buy and use. But these computer-generated transfers are a valuable feature.
Somewhat off-topic, but there is a display of the various tokens that were in use in the Subway at the Transit Museum. The store at the Museum and the satellite location at Grand Central Terminal both have a set of some of the tokens for sale; I didn't check the price.
  by Head-end View
Must be interesting (chuckle!) taking a railfan trip in a snowstorm! But seriously, thanks for the photos of the E180 St. station. Never seen it before, and had no idea there was a subway station like that in NYC. Yes, I know that line used to be an actual railroad.