The New York City Bus System

The New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) operates the world's largest fleet of buses -- 4,373 public buses -- serving over 666 million people per year. The bus system services routes not served by the subway system such as crosstown (East-West) routes and outlying areas.

In general, buses stop every 2 blocks making them agonizingly slow, but for those who have the time to spend it can also double as a scenic tour of the city. MTA buses also serve as the main mode of transportation for K-12 students travelling to and from school. From 8-9am and 2-3pm, expect heavy amounts of school children/teens in certain areas.

The bus authority can be reached at (718) 330-1234; also, the MTA has a great webpage with tons of information. If you are new to New York, you may want to read our guide to riding buses safely in New York. For buses in and out of the city, see the bus terminals and stations in our guide to The Port Authority.


Exact fare of $2.25 is required, payable using either coins or a subway token. Transfers to connecting buses are free, and are usually time stamped to the closest hour. Mag-stripe MetroCards are also available.

Metrocards can be bought on a pay-per-ride basis or an unlimited ride basis at almost all subway stations. With pay-per-ride, you get 11 rides for the price of ten and you can add more money to your card if need be. With unlimited ride Metrocards, you can get a 7 day card for $17 and a 30 day card for $63.

Children under 44" tall ride for free; senior citizens and disabled people ride for a reduced fare.


ALL MTA buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts, which allow wheelchair users to board through the rear door. These "kneeling buses" also facilitate boarding for mobility impaired passengers including elderly people, and people with crutches or canes. For more information, visit the MTA's page.