New York City Subway Trip Planner

Subway Navigation signs - trip planner

Plan Your NYC Trip with The New York Subway Route and Trip Planners

You will need a subway trip planner to get around NYC on public transportation as it can be pretty complicated for the uninitiated. There are a number of tools out there to help you navigate and get you to your destination. You may expect that locals would never need a subway trip planner, but that’s not true because there are often train delays and reroutes on lines that mean that even locals have to use alternative subway and bus routes to get to their destination on time.

Online New York Subway Trip Planner and Navigation Tools:Online New York Subway Trip Planner and Navigation Tools:

  1. MTA Trip Planner Website Tool is a simple to use web service that allows you to plan all your impending trips from anywhere that is web connected. You can choose the time and date of travel and the site will give you a number of options to choose from. This service allows you to type in exact addresses, not just subway stations. The site will give you all the directions you need for navigating the bus, train and subway – allowing you to meticulously plan your trip. This is not a real time service, it gives you the route based on the scheduled subway train times – so it is necessary to check that the train is actually running.
  2. Google Transit is another easy to use website with similar functions to the MTA website. Both sites will display scheduled arrival and departure times of the trains allowing you to make plans with ease. The site has an “options” function that will allow you to customize your travel plan to your specific needs ie less walking, wheelchair accessible, best routes, fewer transfers etc.. Similar options are available on the MTA web site, however google maps has far more choices for travel options, but the MTA updates their website before google does.

There used to be online subway trip planner navigation tool called Hopstop, but Apple Inc. purchased the service in 2013 and rolled that technology into the iPhone Maps app (see below), before closing it down for good in October 2015.

Free Smartphone Mobile Apps for New York SubwayFree Smartphone Mobile Apps
available on iTunes and Google Play

As well as the online options there are also many free and paid apps for smartphones. The advantage to all the apps is that they can work offline, so when you are in the tunnel and you lose cell or wi-fi signal, they will still work providing you with information. The following apps will successfully guide you through the city. There is no official MTA app for navigating the subway system.

  1. New York Subway MTA App is a free App created by Mapway, a global company that provides public transportation apps for cities around the world. It is easy to use and that allows you to plan a trip by selecting a station from a drop down menu that also shows nearby or recently visited stations. The results can be viewed in a summary or a map form. The app also has MTA travel alerts and a New York city Guide.
  2. NYC Transit App Created by Transit Now Ltd, this app lets you select your departure and arrival destination from a map and will give clear basic maps and a trip planner that will provide you detailed train arrival times and real time information on delays and scheduled work.
  3. Maps On the iPhone This App by Apple Inc. only works on the iPhone and allows you to select a destination from the map and will give options for how to travel there, selecting the trains options will give you information on the subway lines. This incorporates the original hopstop data.

Paid Smartphone Appssmartphone map paid smart phone app
available on iTunes and Google Play:

Surprisingly enough, there are still paid smartphone apps out there and one of them is a New York Subway route planner and map:

NYC Subway 24-hour Kickmap This app costs $2.99 and is very similar to the other apps with the main difference being you can plan your travel without the distraction of advertisements. Another plus for this paid app is the function that shows the names of the neighborhoods which can be very helpful for visitors trying to maneuver the busy NYC subway system.

Top Pick

Conclusion: Our Top Picks For New York Subway Trip Planner and  Navigation Tools:

As no one yet makes a subway trip planner that works in real-time (i.e. one that reroutes you based on service delays just like a car navigator), you can only use a service that just works based on the train schedule.

For someone planning a trip in advance with no constraints for time, either one of the online tools listed above would be a good option. As for the mobile apps it’s probably not necessary to pay to purchase an app unless the pop up advertisements are a major concern.

The free NYC Transit app  by Transit Now Ltd. gives the best updates to show when your scheduled bus/train will arrive. It also tells you precisely how far/how long to walk and when the train is arriving. This app shows you nearby stops that you have used recently, just in case you need to run another errand while you are waiting for the service to arrive.