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6 Tips & Tricks for Riding NYC Public Transportation with Kids

6 Tips & Tricks for Riding NYC Public Transportation with Kids

Getting around the city with kids can seem tricky, but it doesn’t have to be!


There are many ways to get around the New York City public transportation system effectively if you have kids. Kids shorter than a certain height or younger than a certain age can ride free, and accessible stations make it easier to travel if you have a stroller (or your toddler just doesn’t feel like taking the stairs). Read on for all the ways the city makes it easier to travel as a family.

Discounts or Free MTA Rides for Kids

According to the MTA, up to three children shorter than 44 inches can ride the subway for free with a paying adult. Small kids should ride in your lap on the subway. Additionally, children younger than 2 can ride express buses for free if they sit on your lap. Check out this article for more information on subway and bus fares.

Public Transportation with Strollers

If you’re bringing a stroller on your outing, check out this list of accessible subway stations with elevators that make it a lot easier to get to your destination, and download the PDF or install the MTA app to get real time updates on elevator maintenance or service changes. Strollers can be open on the subway but must be collapsed on NYC buses—so invest in a collapsible, lightweight stroller, if you can!

Using Car Seats in Taxis, Ubers, or Other Ride Sharing Services

You can request an Uber or Lyft with a car seat. And if you’re riding in a taxi, the driver must allow you to install your own car seat.

Keeping Kids Safe While Using Public Transportation

Getting a kid leash probably isn’t the best option here. Instead, reinforce that your kids look both ways before crossing the street, know to mind the gap in subway stations, and stick close to you at all times. Don’t let go of those little hands! Take extra precautions if you have a kid who loves to wander.



The Undercover Tourist offers some extra tips for being street smart in the city with kids:

  • Always use crosswalks
  • Always enter subway cars or buses together
  • Come up with a family plan for what to do if you become separated
  • Make sure everyone is wearing comfortable shoes!

NYC Students Can Qualify for a Student MetroCard

Your child’s school might distribute MetroCards that allow kids to transfer between subways and buses for free. Kids can use their cards for three rides each school day. Contact your child’s school for more information.

Staying Safe on Public Transportation During the Pandemic

Subways and buses are taking extra steps to ensure your safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are ways you and your family can keep yourselves safe:

  • Sanitize your hands before and after getting on the subway, bus, or into a taxi, Uber, or Lyft
  • Wear face masks at all times (you are required to do so for Ubers)
  • Open the windows in taxis or other ride-share services to allow for better ventilation
  • Avoid touching your face when you travel
  • Don’t forget the hand sanitizer, alcohol wipes, or your family’s preferred method of disinfecting little hands when there’s no sink around!

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Jacqueline Neber

Author: Jacqueline Neber is a social journalism MA candidate at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. When she’s not reporting, you can find her petting someone else’s dog. See More

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