ground transportation

Transportation to New York City area airports

Transportation to New York City area airports is provided by trains (AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark), buses, taxi cabs, private shuttle services, helicopters and other means. The three major airports are:

None of these airports are directly served by the area's commuter rail and subway systems, and LaGuardia has no rail service at all.

Both JFK and LaGuardia are located in the New York City borough of Queens. Newark Liberty is located in Newark, New Jersey. Some travelers take advantage of low-cost carriers that serve Long Island MacArthur Airport in Islip, New York, and Westchester County Airport in White Plains, New York. Increased growth is also expected at Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, New York.

Travelers may get to all the area airports via private bus services, most notably the New York Airport Service. These service usually pick up outside major transit hubs (including New York Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal and the Port Authority Bus Terminal) and hotels.

JFK and Newark Liberty Airports are served, respectively, by two short rail lines both known as AirTrain, connecting to other systems. AirTrain Newark is a light monorail whose railcars can never travel directly on the existing infrastructure of commuter or rapid transit lines, while AirTrain JFK is capable of handling heavy rail subway trains and could, in theory, send railcars onto rapid transit or commuter rail tracks. All three airports have connecting bus service to other transit. Public transportation is usually cheaper than taxi or direct bus service, but it is generally slower. However rail service can be faster at peak traffic times. MacArthur can be reached by shuttles that connect the airport with the nearby Long Island Rail Road station in Ronkonkoma, New York.

All costs and travel times given here are as of September 2006 unless otherwise stated.

John F. Kennedy International Airport

AirTrain JFK

AirTrain JFK provides rail service to JFK via two separate transfer stations. One branch of the AirTrain runs to Jamaica, and the other to Howard Beach.


The Jamaica AirTrain terminus is part of a large transportation complex that includes many connections:

From the subway, one can take either service to midtown and lower Manhattan, or service to Manhattan's Lower East Side. All LIRR trains, except those on the Port Washington Branch and some peak-hour express runs, stop at Jamaica and offer access to Penn Station in Manhattan and the Flatbush Avenue terminal in downtown Brooklyn as well as over 100 commuter rail stations on Long Island.

The LIRR provides faster service than the subway to Penn Station, where connections can be made to Amtrak and New Jersey Transit. However, Penn Station is on the West Side of midtown Manhattan, while many offices, shops and apartments are on the East Side. The train makes 11 stops in Manhattan and its first stop, at the Lexington Avenue–53rd Street station, is particularly convenient to east side destinations, with connections to the Lexington Avenue subway line. It is also a few blocks from the northern entrance to Grand Central Terminal. The E train continues west along 53rd Street, stopping at Fifth Avenue/53rd Street and Seventh Avenue stations, and then heads south along 8th Avenue, with stops at 50th Street, the Port Authority Bus Terminal, Pennsylvania Station, 23rd Street, and 14th Street. Same-platform transfers can be made at Forest Hills in Queens from the E to the train, which takes a different route through Manhattan. Many other subway connections are available.

Howard Beach

The Howard Beach AirTrain terminus is right above the Howard Beach–JFK station on the IND Rockaway Line of the New York City Subway. service runs from there to downtown Brooklyn and along the length of Manhattan, as well as south to the Rockaways. In terms of travel time to Manhattan, the A train from Howard Beach is only faster than the E train from Jamaica at the first few stops in lower Manhattan, and there only by 10 or 15 minutes. Note that not all A trains from Manhattan go as far as Howard Beach. Only those marked Far Rockaway or Rockaway Park do. Also available at Howard Beach is the Q11 bus.

Accessibility, costs and typical travel times

All of these AirTrain connections and Penn Station are handicapped accessible; however many other area stations are not. For more information see New York City Subway accessibility and Long Island Rail Road accessibility.

AirTrain costs $5 per ride, the Subway costs $2 and the LIRR (to anywhere in New York City except the Far Rockaway station) costs $7 during peak hours, $5 at other weekday times and $3.25 on weekends (with the CityTicket pilot program). Fares can be paid with MetroCards, available from vending machines at the AirTrain termini. Costs and typical travel times are as follows:

Mode Cost Optimal Time to Manhattan
AirTrain and LIRR $12 peak, $10 nonpeak, $8.25 weekends 35 minutes (Midtown, west side)
AirTrain and E Subway $7 45 minutes (Midtown, east side)
AirTrain and A Subway $7 1 hour (lower Manhattan)

City buses

Various city buses connect to the Subway and Long Island Rail Road, with free transfers provided for Subway connections. The buses are handicapped accessible, but connections may not be. All three bus routes provide 24 hour service. Most enter the airport on Van Wyck Expressway.B15 Marcus Garvey Boulevard/New Lots Avenue The B15, operated by MTA New York City Transit, takes a long route including sections of Conduit Avenue and New Lots Avenue, ending at Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn. It passes the following stations (in order from JFK):

The Q3, operated by MTA New York City Transit, runs mainly along Farmers Boulevard and Hillside Avenue to Jamaica, accessing the following stations (in order from JFK):

The Q10, operated by MTA Bus Company, runs mainly via Lefferts Boulevard to Kew Gardens, with the following transfers along the way (in order from JFK):

Limited stop service also runs weekdays and Saturdays from 7am to 8pm.


New York City's yellow cabs, regulated by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, offer a flat rate service of $45 (as of 2006) from JFK airport to Manhattan, excluding tips and tolls. This flat rate is in effect either way between Manhattan and JFK.


The fastest mode of travel between lower Manhattan and JFK airport is with US Helicopter which has scheduled helicopter flights every hour from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport to American Airlines Terminal 9 at JFK. The flights last less than 10 minutes and cost $159 each way. Included in the price is the luxury of avoiding long security screening lines at the airport. Passengers travelling by helicopter pass through X-ray and bomb-detection machines at a security checkpoint operated at the heliport.

Defunct transportation

New York Airways provided helicopter service from the Pan Am Building through the 1970s.

JFK Express, advertised as The Train to The Plane, was a service of the New York City Subway from 1978 to 1990. It ran from midtown Manhattan (later Long Island City, Queens) to downtown Brooklyn, making stops along the way, and then made no stops between downtown Brooklyn and Howard Beach–JFK, where a bus connected to the airport.

LaGuardia Airport

LaGuardia (LGA) is the only one of the three main airports with no rail service, though early plans for AirTrain JFK would have taken it north past Jamaica to LaGuardia. Thus the only public transportation is provided by buses.

City buses

The following city buses connect to the New York City Subway and Long Island Rail Road, with free transfers provided for subway connections. The buses are handicapped accessible, but connections may not be.

M60 LaGuardia Airport via 125th Street

The M60, operated by MTA New York City Transit, runs from LGA to the Upper West Side, Manhattan via Astoria Boulevard, the Triboro Bridge and 125th Street, with the following transfers along the way (in order from LGA):

Q33 82nd Street

The Q33, operated by MTA Bus Company, uses mainly 82nd Street and 83rd Street between LGA and Jackson Heights. The following transfers are available (in order from LGA):

Q47 74th Street

The Q47, operated by MTA Bus Company, uses mainly 73rd Street and 74th Street between LGA and Jackson Heights. The following transfers are available (in order from LGA):

Q48 Roosevelt Avenue/Ditmars Boulevard/LaGuardia Airport

The Q48, operated by MTA New York City Transit, runs via Ditmars Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue to Flushing. The following transfers are available (in order from LGA):

Q72 Junction Boulevard

The Q72 operated by the MTA Bus Company runs via 94th Street and Junction Boulevard through East Elmhurst to Rego Park. The following transfers are available (in order from LGA):

Newark Liberty International Airport

Newark Airport (EWR) has rail and bus service.


AirTrain Newark originally served as a circulator between terminals, but on October 21, 2001, the extension to the new Newark Liberty International Airport station on the Northeast Corridor opened. As the station serves only airport traffic, AirTrain fare is included in rail fare, except for monthly pass holders, who pay $5.50 to ride AirTrain. New Jersey Transit and Amtrak serve the station, both going to various New Jersey points as well as New York Penn Station.

On December 8, 2005, the Port Authority announced that an extension of the PATH system to Newark Airport was included in its 2006–2015 Strategic Plan. The estimated cost of $550 million is not yet budgeted.

New Jersey Transit buses

New Jersey Transit operates several bus routes via EWR.

37 Newark–Maplewood

The 37 runs between EWR and Ivy Hill in southwestern Newark via Lyons Avenue, passing the following rail stations and other major points (in order from EWR):

  • EWR main terminals and North Area - end of the route
  • Ivy Hill - end of the route

40 Jersey Gardens–Kearny

The 40 runs between North Arlington and Jersey Gardens in eastern Elizabeth, passing the following rail stations and other major points (from north to south):

While the #40 bus does not directly serve the main terminals, it stops at the 'North Area' bus stop (on U.S. Route 1/9) which adjoins long-term parking lot P6. The free P6 shuttle bus connects from this parking lot to the terminals.

62 Newark–Perth Amboy

The 62 runs between downtown Newark and downtown Perth Amboy, passing the following rail stations and other major points (from north to south):

67 Toms River–Lakewood–Newark

The 67 runs between downtown Newark (some trips extend to Journal Square, Jersey City and a few to Lincoln Harbor, Weehawken) and Toms River. Only some trips stop at EWR, passing the following rail stations and other major points (from north to south):

107 South Orange–New York

The 107 runs between South Orange and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan. Only some trips stop at EWR, passing the following rail stations and other major points (from west to east):

NJ Transit does not allow travel from Airport Terminals to New York on this route. Passengers must use Olympia Bus Lines or take ground transportation to the North Area bus stop.


As of December 2006, US Helicopter is adding service between the Downtown Manhattan Heliport and Newark Liberty International Airport. 12 flights in each direction will be offered daily for the eight-minute flight, which will operate from a secured area at Gate 71 in Continental Airlines' Terminal C.

Other Area Airports

Long Island MacArthur Airport

Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, New York, serves residents of Suffolk County on Long Island, and it is currently the only New York City area airport served by Southwest Airlines.

The Ronkonkoma station on the Long Island Rail Road is 1 and a half miles from the terminal at MacArthur. Colonial Transportation offers a shuttle from the train station to the airport.

Westchester County Airport

Westchester County Airport, often called White Plains Airport, is located 33 miles north of Midtown Manhattan in White Plains, New York, and serves residents of Westchester County and Fairfield County, Connecticut. It also draws traffic for its service on low-fare airlines JetBlue Airways and AirTran Airways.

Westchester County Airport is served by a Bee-Line Bus connection called AirLink, which operates regularly scheduled service between the airport and the White Plains station on the Metro-North Railroad. Bee-Line is operated by the government of Westchester County.

Stewart International Airport

Stewart International Airport, located 55 miles north of New York City in New Windsor, Orange County, New York, adjacent to Newburgh, New York. The airport was recently purchased by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and it is anticipated that the airport will become the fourth major New York City metropolitan airport. It, like Westchester, also draws traffic for its service on JetBlue and AirTran Airways.

Currently, the airport is only served by bus and taxi service. The only regularly scheduled service to the airport is provided by Leprechaun Lines' The Link, which links the Metro-North station in Beacon, New York to downtown Newburgh, terminating at the airport.

Since the Port Authority's purchase of the airport, studies of future transportation from New York City to the airport are being conducted. One feasible option is a spur from the Port Jervis Line of Metro-North, as its Salisbury Mills-Cornwall station is 4.5 miles from the terminal., and the closest point on the Port Jervis Line is only 3.5 miles away.

Inter-airport transfers

Several private bus and limousine operators offer direct service between JFK, Newark and LaGuardia airports. Taxis may also be used, but can be quite expensive. Rail connections between Newark and JFK are possible via Pennsylvania Station, but the walk between New Jersey Transit and the LIRR can be long and is poorly marked. Travelers between LaGuardia and JFK can save money and possibly time by taking a taxi between LaGuardia and Jamaica station and completing their journey on AirTrain.


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