Complete noob question regarding the subway and JFK

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Complete noob question regarding the subway and JFK

Postby gregboet » Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:33 pm

About to travel to NYC for the first time. Is it a bad idea to haul luggage on the subway to get to JFK airport, rather than taking a cab? I'll be needing to get to JFK around mid-afternoon on a Saturday.

Sorry for the complete noob question.

Thanks,

Greg
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Re: Complete noob question regarding the subway and JFK

Postby GirlOnTheTrain » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:18 pm

Shouldn't be overly terrible. Half the time I ride the A it's full of people with suitcases. You can also take the J to Sutphin/Archer and get the Airtrain there too, which is probably your best bet from Williamsburg.
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Re: Complete noob question regarding the subway and JFK

Postby andegold » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:50 pm

I've been taking the E to Jamaica for the AirTrain for over a year. Even my wife and kids prefer it to a cab and you can't beat the price. On a good day from the East Side the time is competitive. On a heavy traffic day the subway is faster.
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Re: Complete noob question regarding the subway and JFK

Postby MACTRAXX » Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:38 pm

GB:

Do you know exactly how many NYCT Subway rides you will be taking when you are in NYC?
That will help determine just how much you will need to place on a pay per ride Metrocard.

Do you have a previous Metrocard? If "yes" does it have any money balance on it?
A previous balance can be refilled with added money or if the card is expired less then one year
(All Metrocards have an expiration date) it can be exchanged for a new card without the $1 new
card charge. After one year expired it would need to be submitted to NYCT for adjustment.

A thought is to purchase a two ride Metrocard when you purchase your MNCR ticket at New Haven
from the agent to save you the hassle of waiting in line to use MVM machines in and around GCT.
($6.50 - $2.75 times two along with the $1 card surcharge) as one purchase suggestion.

Another place of sale is the NYC Transit Museum Store at GCT for prevalued Metrocards.

You can use this same card and refill it with the $5.00 JFK Airtrain fare which is collected at either
Jamaica Station (E and J Trains) or Howard Beach (A Train to Far Rockaway) upon entry.

Metrocards allow the option of a free transfer (Subway to Local Bus or Local Bus to Subway)
for 2 hours and 16 minutes elapsed time from the time of entry to the system (system time can
be found on card readers at stations or bus fareboxes) for all $2.75 regular NYCT Metrocard fares.

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Re: Complete noob question regarding the subway and JFK

Postby gregboet » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:19 am

So the plan is this:
12/28, 2:30 - 4:30 PM?: Take Metro North from New Haven to Grand Central.
12/28, 5:00 - 5:30 PM?: Take the 4 or 5 south, then take the L east to the Bedford Ave station (the nearest one to our hotel in Williamsburg)
12/29, morning: Take the L train into Manhattan
12/29: Probably take the subway at least a couple of times while doing stuff in Manhattan
12/29, evening: Take the L train back to Williamsburg
12/30, midday: Take the subway to JFK airport (L train to J train to Airtrain, I guess)

There will be two of us traveling, my wife and me. Neither of us have ever had a MetroCard.

Conclusion: buy a 7-day pass for $32 x 2 = $64. Even if there is a slightly cheaper possibility I would probably go with this for the peace of mind of "unlimited rides." Let me know if I am going out of my mind here. Seems like a really good deal if it means we don't need to pay for a cab back to JFK.
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Re: Complete noob question regarding the subway and JFK

Postby GirlOnTheTrain » Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:49 am

You can also change at Broadway Junction to a Far Rockaway-bound A (not one to Lefferts) to get to the JFK Airtrain.

I do believe now you can put a set dollar amount on a metro card in addition to an unlimited - so throw $5 a piece on each of them for the Airtrain and you should be ok. The unlimited portion will not cover the airtrain.
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Re: Complete noob question regarding the subway and JFK

Postby MACTRAXX » Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:57 pm

GB - My thoughts about your NYC trip plan as written are:

1-Houlton,ME to New Haven,CT is around 450 miles - a solid 7-8 hour drive at least depending on
stops and road conditions (off topic but must be mentioned) and then MN NHV-GCT depending on
how long your stop to drop off your rental car takes. This drive and what you must do to get to
NYC will make for a VERY long and perhaps tiring day depending on how much one likes to travel.

2-Christmas Holiday Week is a very busy time for NYC and with many off for that week some trains
that are off peak are busier then rush hour trains accommodating holiday travelers.

3-Depending on what time you actually do get to GCT - and how much luggage that you have in
particular - it may be better to try and get a taxi to your hotel instead of trying to use the very
crowded #4 or 5 Lexington Avenue trains. Keep in mind that many Christmas Week days in the
Borough of Manhattan are designated "Gridlock Alert" days for the major city traffic congestion.

4-Good idea to buy a 7 day Unlimited Metrocard. The 7 day period begins with the first use of the
card at a subway station or on a local bus and the only restriction is that there is an 18 minute
"lockout" in which the card can not be used again at the same Subway station or local bus route
which curbs "pass-back" fare abuse. Just remember the more you ride the more you save.
You can use the same card to place $5 on for your Airtrain fare with a refill at a MVM or booth.
7 Day Unlimited Metrocards may be available from the MN Agent at NHV and at the MTA Transit
Museum Store at GCT. This again would save the problem of long lines at MVM machines at GCT.

5-December 30 is the "Eve of New Years Eve" and will probably be a good but busy travel day
out of JFK. Be sure to get there well in advance of your flight allowing for long lines at security.

Please post again after your trip and enjoy NYC during the Holiday Season!!!

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Re: Complete noob question regarding the subway and JFK

Postby Allan » Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:15 pm

GirlOnTheTrain wrote:You can also change at Broadway Junction to a Far Rockaway-bound A (not one to Lefferts) to get to the JFK Airtrain.

When taking the Far Rockaway train get off at Howard Beach-JFK station.

I do believe now you can put a set dollar amount on a metro card in addition to an unlimited - so throw $5 a piece on each of them for the Airtrain and you should be ok. The unlimited portion will not cover the airtrain.


You are partially correct, however, the way it works is that any money placed on an active unlimited card will stay in the background until the unlimited pass expires. So putting the $5 on the unlimited card would just be a waste of $5 since the AirTrain turnstile would see the unlimited pass first and reject the card (unless the unlimited portion had already expired - which in this situation it would not have expired).

Quite frankly since you are only going to be here for 3 days the 7 day unlimited would be a total waste of money. For the unlimited to be worth it you have to use it 12 times to start saving money. The 7 day card costs $32, 12 times $2.75 equals $33 so on the 12th use you'd save $1.00.

Go for a regular MetroCard. You only need one card or the two of you (a regular MetroCard can handle up to 4 people).

I recommend that you put $10.50 on the card to start. With the 5% bonus that gets added you will have $11.03 which will cover 4 fares ($11.00). $20.95 will get you (with bonus) a card with $22.00 which will cover 8 fares.

Keep in mind that you will be charged $1.00 at time of purchase for a new MetroCard but you can then refill the card with no additional fee.

When it is time to go to JFK just add enough money to whatever money left on the regular MetroCard so that you have $10.00 left to use for the AirTrain.

If you have no money left on the MetroCard put on $14.80 which will get you (after the bonus) a value of 15.54 which will cover 2 subway fares ($5.50) and 2 Airtrain fee ($10.00).

There is no visual difference between a card that is unlimited vs a card with only money on it. It is all based on what is encoded on the magnetic strip.

{You did mention that you would buy unlimited cards just for the overall convenience - since any money placed on that card will NOT be recognized by the AirTrain turnstile you would wind up having to buy another card at the AirTrain station for $11.00 (2 AirTrain fees @ $5.00 each plus the $1.00 fee for the card. I strongly suggest you do not do that based on what I laid out above).
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Re: Complete noob question regarding the subway and JFK

Postby MACTRAXX » Sun Oct 22, 2017 4:48 am

Allan:

Good tip concerning the use of Metrocards when both an unlimited time period and pay-per-ride
value is loaded onto any said card at the same time - in other words pay-per-ride value would have
to be used after the unlimited portion expires which is good to know for future reference.

It will take 12 rides as noted to break out ahead on a $32 7 day Unlimited Metrocard which is good
to also be aware of since it will help figure if that option will be worthwhile over that period.

I stopped at the Transit Museum Store at GCT this past week and asked about which Metrocards
that they sold - they showed me a list that included the $32 7 day Unlimited and a variety of pay-
per-ride cards that were priced creatively to use the added 5% bonus. I should have at least taken
down this information which could have added to this topic.

Another mention I will add is that pay-per-ride Metrocards can be "passed back" for two people
(up to four as previously mentioned) to enter the Subway or to board a bus. There will be two
transfers encoded on to the card both usable within the designated transfer time period which
is something that GB should know about since this second ride within 2 hours 16 minutes is paid
(Subway to Local Bus, Local Bus to Subway or Local Bus to Local Bus) with the initial uses.

I try to keep up on subjects like Metrocard values and use and always appreciate learning more
information concerning transit fares.

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Re: Complete noob question regarding the subway and JFK

Postby adamj023 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 5:31 pm

Transportation in USA is overall in poor shape from roads to bridges, to airports and terminals, to train infrastructure and so on.

There is a project for design to modernize the LIRR Airtrain area between LIRR and Subway at Jamaica. It was mentioned before but I saw it made its way to the Capital dashboard list as I never saw it before on there which are ongoing projects. I saw photos done by Tom Prenderghast speaking at one of the board meetings I guess it was awhile back which was on video. The design plans to redo this area looked very nice and would ease transfers between subway or LIRR and Airtrain when completed.

Car ride services and the like are still the most convenient way to get to the airport but does come at an added expense over other methods. But most like to be picked up with luggage and just dropped off without hassle. I am all for mass transit alternative because it helps reduce traffic on the roads and reduces expenses for others even if I don’t use that method. We also need improved roads which are part of the Kew Gardens Interchange project where they are on the third of fourth phase and the project has already been delayed from the start.

Subways are restrictive because of turnstiles which limit baggage you can bring. Also JFK Air Train is still a poor way to get to JFK from Manhattan because of required transfers and speed/distance.

I prefer to ride in a Juno Lux or Uber Black to LGA and/or JFK airport even with the added expense as I don’t want to schlep my luggage and do any walking or transfers. Plus the services usually provide discounts as well. For those who want to use the lower tier levels of these services, costs would be less and could be comparable to mass transit cost depending on what discounts you can get and where you are coming from or going to.
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Re: Complete noob question regarding the subway and JFK

Postby Tadman » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:03 pm

I have never understood the reasons for airtrain. With the fleet elasticity and spare materials at MTA, they probably could have built a JFK spur and not bought anything new other than a substation. No new equipment, or training, or spare parts.

As for the convenience of getting to the airport, I will take a car service in cities like DFW as it handily beats the DART. In NYC or Chicago, I take the train. It's not that hard to get a suitcase through a turnstyle. I do it just about every week, including multiple rides two weeks ago across the city of New York. Honestly, it's much easier to ride the subway with baggage than Jersey Transit. The 3+2 seating on Jersey Transit makes it hard to walk into the car with baggage. The subway is wide open, so even when it's crowded, people have a little smoosh room.

For LGA I take the N/W to Ditmars and catch a cab from there, which takes about half the time that a cab from mid-town takes. That is, if you don't stop for a pide at Truva, an excellent Turkish spot under the station.
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Re: Complete noob question regarding the subway and JFK

Postby Jenny on a M2 » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:42 am

Lest we forget, Airtrain JFK is a Port Authority of NY & NJ beast, and IIRC the MTA didn't have any hand in other than transfer stations at Jamaica and Howard Beach.

My point being: your idea makes wayyyy too much sense for PANYNJ to have ever considered, for they are truly the least competent of all the tri-state transport authorities.

Coming from GCT, I've always found the NYAS shuttle to JFK to get the job done but I do always try to leave extra time if I'm trying to get to JFK around traffic hour.

+1 for Truva; I've lost count of the number of times my BFF and I have been there.
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Re: Complete noob question regarding the subway and JFK

Postby italianstallion » Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:41 pm

Tadman wrote:I have never understood the reasons for airtrain. With the fleet elasticity and spare materials at MTA, they probably could have built a JFK spur and not bought anything new other than a substation. No new equipment, or training, or spare parts.

As for the convenience of getting to the airport, I will take a car service in cities like DFW as it handily beats the DART. In NYC or Chicago, I take the train. It's not that hard to get a suitcase through a turnstyle. I do it just about every week, including multiple rides two weeks ago across the city of New York. Honestly, it's much easier to ride the subway with baggage than Jersey Transit. The 3+2 seating on Jersey Transit makes it hard to walk into the car with baggage. The subway is wide open, so even when it's crowded, people have a little smoosh room.

For LGA I take the N/W to Ditmars and catch a cab from there, which takes about half the time that a cab from mid-town takes. That is, if you don't stop for a pide at Truva, an excellent Turkish spot under the station.


The reason for Airtrain is 100% funding-related. It's considered an intra-airport people-mover, in effect. That's why there are no stations between Jamaica and JFK. As such, it qualified for money from an assessment on the airlines using JFK. Any spur off the subway system would not have qualified.
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Re: Complete noob question regarding the subway and JFK

Postby ryanov » Mon Apr 30, 2018 3:00 pm

Basically the only reason to take a cab is that it's so far off hours that subway service is way slower, or you're coming from somewhere very obscure, or you have mobility problems (maybe not even then, since much of the subway is accessible, and maybe all buses at this point). Otherwise, you are increasing congestion and polluting the air, as well as putting yourself at personal risk (trains and buses are both safer).
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