New York City Buses

City buses operate 24 hours a day, generally along avenues in a south or north direction, and cross-town along the major thoroughfares (including 34th, 42nd and 57th Sts).

Buses that begin and end in a certain borough are prefixed accordingly: ie, M5 for Manhattan, B39 for Brooklyn, Q32 for Queens, Bx29 for Bronx.

Bus maps for each borough are available at subway and train stations, and each well-marked bus stop has Guide-a-Ride maps showing the stops for each bus and nearby landmarks. Remember that some ‘Limited Stop’ buses along major routes pull over only every 10 blocks or so at major cross streets.

“Express” buses are generally for outer borough commuters and should not be used for short trips; they currently cost $4. In addition to the city-owned express buses, which are prefixed with “X”, there are some private express bus lines such as Command Bus lines and Green bus lines. They operate under the watch of the city and charge the same fares as city express buses.

The regular bus fare is currently $2.00. The fare is the same, regardless of how far you travel. You’ll need exact change or a Metrocard to board the bus. If you plan to transfer to a connecting route, you can get a temporary card that will allow you to transfer for free. If you use a Metrocard, you can transfer for free to any bus or subway within two hours after you first used the Metrocard.

If you purchase a Metrocard for multiple trips, you will get a discount. You can also get an unlimited ride Metrocard, which allows you to take as many rides on the bus or subway that you want in a certain period of time. This is very useful for a tourist who wants to take many bus rides to different parts of the city.

Senior citizens can get special Metrocards that allow them to pay half fare. Students can get Metrocards that allow them to ride the bus for free or at a reduced price. These can only be used for traveling to and from school; the bus driver will not accept a Metrocard from a student who is not en route to or from a school, or when school is not in session.

Drivers will be happy to tell you if their bus stops near a specific site, as a safety precaution, you can request to be dropped off at any location along a bus route from 10 pm to 5 am – even if it is not a designated bus stop.

Of course, if you attempt to ride the bus, you’ll discover the same woes found in every other major city during bad weather: After a 25 minute wait for a bus, three will come along in a row.

For bus information, call 718-330-1234.