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LGA to Manhattan public transportation with kids

LGA to Manhattan public transportation with kids

Old Sep 17, 18, 9:47 am
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LGA to Manhattan public transportation with kids

Our flight is scheduled to arrive at LGA on a Friday night at 7:55 pm. It will be 2 adults and 4 children aged 15,11,10, & 9. We will have small rolling carry on bags. We plan on purchasing 7 day unlimited metrocards and would like to use public transportation to the Salisbury Hotel. We used the metro when visiting DC last year with no problems, but I didn't know how the switching from bus to subway would be with luggage. Any tips?
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Old Sep 18, 18, 11:38 pm
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Welcome to FlyerTalk, brittney8581! It should certainly be doable if you just have rollaboards. However, I always take a taxi from LGA, so I'm sure one of our resident LGA public transportion experts can give you more specific advice on what connection to make.
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Old Sep 19, 18, 12:42 am
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The change from the bus to the subway is pretty easy. Walk in a line or at most 2x2 to avoid pissing off the regulars and keeping anyone in your party from getting split away. This is a good rule for walking in NYC. We're rude to those that mess with our commutes but otherwise NYers are pretty friendly. If you're confused or lost just ask someone.

The bus is pretty well set for handling passengers with bags.
Ideally on the R train subway try to sit 3x3 across from each other with one adult on each side to guide everyone off when your stop comes up.

-On regular buses each MetroCard will have to be "dipped" into the machine aboard the bus at the front door.
-For the SBS (Select Bus Service) which you will probably ride from LGA you will find machines at the bus stop where you press a start button which will prompt you to enter your card and will print out a receipt & eject your Metrocard. Those receipts are what a cop would ask for if they do a surprise check so keep them in one adult's pocket. This will have to be done for each card.
-For subway. You swipe the card at the turnstile or entry spinning gate and enter. It's one person at a time.
-There is an app that I suggest people download that tells you an estimate how far away, in time, a subway is at each station. For buses you can do google searches for example of "Q70-SBS bus time" and it will show you where buses are along their route. An app for this also exists but I find it to be rubbish.

Apologies for the screwed up nature of our metro system. It has been a nightmare for several years but is still a godsend for getting around. Be patient and such.

Last edited by Yoshi212; Sep 19, 18 at 8:51 am
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Old Sep 19, 18, 5:47 am
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Originally Posted by brittney8581 View Post
Our flight is scheduled to arrive at LGA on a Friday night at 7:55 pm. It will be 2 adults and 4 children aged 15,11,10, & 9. We will have small rolling carry on bags. We plan on purchasing 7 day unlimited metrocards and would like to use public transportation to the Salisbury Hotel. We used the metro when visiting DC last year with no problems, but I didn't know how the switching from bus to subway would be with luggage. Any tips?
With that many people and bags, you might consider taking a car of some form into the city, and then using public transit after you get there. You could prebook via a service like Dial7, though probably Uber/Lyft would work too.

Otherwise, the Salisbury Hotel is right near the 57th St (F) Station on 6 Av and the 57th St (R) Station on 7 Av, so transit is pretty easy: take the Q70 Select Bus Service to Jackson Heights (just get off where everybody else does), then go downstairs and take an (F) or (R) train inbound to Manhattan. The (F) is an express and the (R) is a local, but the actual time difference is maybe 5 minutes. The (R) will most likely be less crowded.

I believe there are Metrocard Vending Machines in LGA in baggage claim, but I don't remember exactly where. You would buy your 7 day card from there (or maybe from a newsstand). If you can't buy these in advance, you will need to buy a cash fare for the Q70, and only coins (including dollar coins) are accepted. Then buy your 7 day card when you get to Jackson Heights. (There is no bus-to-subway transfer for cash fares.)

The Q70 is a "Select Bus Service". You need to pay your fare before you board, from different vending machines. Your 7 day card is not directly valid for transport, you have to use your card to obtain a proof of payment receipt. See more info here.

At the subway, my suggestion would be to send one or two people through the turnstiles, then pass the luggage through, then have everyone else go through. It's three flights of stairs down to the platform, though there are (really slow) elevators.
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Old Sep 19, 18, 12:59 pm
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6 people taking public transportation to Manhattan sounds like a nightmare.... not to mention your cost savings will be a lot less if you can't find a metrocard vending machine in LGA since you have to spend extra $16.50 to ride the bus (no free transfer if you don't have a metrocard)

I wouldn't want to be looking for a metrocard vending machine in LGA (it's not easy) with four kids. Please just take Uber to hotel and buy your card at the nearest subway stop.
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Old Sep 19, 18, 1:42 pm
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Originally Posted by samwise6222 View Post
6 people taking public transportation to Manhattan sounds like a nightmare.... not to mention your cost savings will be a lot less if you can't find a metrocard vending machine in LGA since you have to spend extra $16.50 to ride the bus (no free transfer if you don't have a metrocard)

I wouldn't want to be looking for a metrocard vending machine in LGA (it's not easy) with four kids. Please just take Uber to hotel and buy your card at the nearest subway stop.
This is the best advice. If it's one or two people, mass transit might be cost effective, but there will be no savings in this case as you must pay for each passenger over 5.

And, speaking as NYC native, the mass transit options for LGA are terrible. Not the first experience I'd recommend for a family of newly-arrived tourists.
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Old Sep 19, 18, 6:52 pm
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Taxis and Uber are a huge pain in the city, especially from/to Laguardia Airport in the evening, and with the UN General Assembly starting Sept. 24th, it will be insufferable. I strongly suggest the SBS bus (the Q70, not the M60)/subway connection, but please note that the F train will not stop at 57th St. until the end of the year due to construction. From Jackson Heights (transfer point from the Q70) take the R train to 57th St.
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Old Sep 19, 18, 7:24 pm
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Taxis and Ubers are easy at LGA.

OP is headed for West 57th St. Should be absolutely no problem to head to the West Side at 125th St. and then down pretty much anything. Will completely avoid the entire "UN zone" which is not particularly bad at night anyway unless you want to park in front of the Cuban Mission or somesuch.

Take an Uber XL. It will accomodate the six of you and your bags. You will be in your hotel by 9:00 PM without your kids hating you.
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Old Sep 19, 18, 7:52 pm
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If there were only five in the OP's party, he could get a one-way car rental from LGA to Manhattan on a Friday night from Avis or Budget for $14.00, including tax and gas. Unfortunately, none of the vehicles offered at the special rate can seat six.

Edited to add: Checking random Fridays in October, I am seeing a 7-passenger minivan available for about $26, all-in; and maybe $25 if one is willing to prepay.

There are Avis and Budget locations that are a short walk from the OP's hotel.

Last edited by guv1976; Sep 20, 18 at 9:51 am
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Old Sep 20, 18, 5:31 am
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Originally Posted by orlandodlplat View Post
And, speaking as NYC native, the mass transit options for LGA are terrible. Not the first experience I'd recommend for a family of newly-arrived tourists.
Speaking as an NYC resident, the mass transit options for LGA have greatly improved since the introduction of the Q70 (and its subsequent conversion to SBS). That said, OP will definitely have an easier time with a car service of some form.

Originally Posted by Track View Post
I strongly suggest the SBS bus (the Q70, not the M60)/subway connection, but please note that the F train will not stop at 57th St. until the end of the year due to construction. From Jackson Heights (transfer point from the Q70) take the R train to 57th St.
Ah right, I forgot that 57 (F) was on Cuomo's list of self aggrandizing station renovations. So yeah, the (R) is the better option.
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Old Sep 20, 18, 5:41 am
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Traveling on a flight with four kids (and a husband) is difficult enough. Upon landing you'll probably just want to get to the hotel as painlessly as possible.I wouldn't add the tension of bus/train transfers on top of it on the final lap. Take an Uber or two. Also, download the MTA app if you haven't already.
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Old Sep 22, 18, 11:19 pm
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Metrocard vending machines aren't that hard to find at LGA. Assuming you can get the metrocards at the airport, I think taking the Q70 to the R to 57th is a perfectly fine idea with kids that age, and I think it's also teaching the kids good travel habits to use public transit when arriving in transit-friendly cities rather than opting for the slightly-easier car service option.

And if you're getting unlimited metrocards anyway, then it's a fantastic deal.

If you're unable to get the metrocards at the airport for some reason, though, UberXL and LyftPlus will take 6 passengers (although some of the smaller SUVs that are on UberXL and LyftPlus won't have much room for luggage with 6 pax). I usually use those services when arriving at LGA with mrsmicah and our three kids, but our kids are younger than your crew so we usually have at least one giant duffel bag and a stroller that make public transit a lot less appealing.
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Old Sep 23, 18, 8:18 am
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I particularly love the idea that paying $15 in subway fares (and, really, even less given that the OP made it clear they'd be buying 7-day cards) is somehow a massive financial burden relative to the premium paid to get a car service large enough to seat 6. That's going to be at least $40 and probably more.

If you're comfortable as a family using mass transit then this particular trip is a piece of cake. The hardest part will be negotiating the turnstiles at the subway station with the bags. You've got enough people to have one go through and then just hand the bags over/under until everyone is in.

It is very clear on the bus the stop to get off at for the subway transfer and then just head downstairs to the Manhattan-bound platform. Enjoy the visit!
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Old Sep 24, 18, 12:35 am
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Originally Posted by orlandodlplat View Post
And, speaking as NYC native, the mass transit options for LGA are terrible. Not the first experience I'd recommend for a family of newly-arrived tourists.
This NYC native completely disagrees with this statement. It sounds to me like the OP has thought this out and in fact has done it before in DC. As others have noted, finding a metrocard vending machine and using public transportation to get from LGA to the hotel will be easy, and in my mind part of the adventure of visiting NYC.
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Old Sep 24, 18, 12:40 am
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
The hardest part will be negotiating the turnstiles at the subway station with the bags. You've got enough people to have one go through and then just hand the bags over/under until everyone is in.
Once one member of the group has gone through the turnstile, they can open the security gate (note to the OP: the gate probably is marked that it's for emergency use only and that an alarm will sound, but all of the alarms were deactivated a couple of years ago) and the rest of the group can pass the luggage through the gate before going through the turnstiles themselves. I do this all the time, including directly in front of MTA employees and police, and no one objects. They get that getting luggage through the turnstiles is a hassle.
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