New York City Public Transportation

New York City’s public transportation system lags behind the majority of American cities in wheelchair accessibility. Opened in 1904, the underground subway system has been slow to see accessibility renovations due to the project’s complexity. Fortunately, city bus and surface trains fill many of the service gaps left by the inaccessible subway. Riding the public transportation system in New York with a wheelchair is possible.

Underground MTA Subway

New York City has an extensive underground subway network, one of the largest in the world.  There are a total of 468 MTA Subway stations across all boroughs of the city. Because the majority of stations were built before the Americans with Disabilities Act took effect in 1990, most stations are not wheelchair accessible. Elevators have since been installed at many high-traffic stations, but progress is coming slowly. In Manhattan, only 36 of 147 stations are wheelchair accessible, with some of those being only partly accessible.  The following is a list of subway stations in the Borough of Manhattan that are wheelchair accessible.  The location of the elevator is listed for each station, as are the specific train lines which can be reached in a wheelchair.  Note that an accessible station may have inaccessible trains or platforms.  For example, the Times Square-42nd Street station is wheelchair friendly, but the S-line platform is not.

Station Name Borough Street Elevator Location Service Trains
14th Street Manhattan Corner: 14th St. & 8th Ave.  
14th Street – Union Square Manhattan Corner: 14th St. & Park Ave. South    
34th Street – Herald Square Manhattan Herald Center Bldg., West of Broadway       
34th Street – Penn Station Manhattan At LIRR Entrance   
34th Street – Penn Station Manhattan Inside Penn Station   
42nd Street – Port Authority Bus Terminal Manhattan Inside North Wing of Bus Terminal   
47th-50th Streets – Rockefeller Center Manhattan Corner: 6th Ave. & 49th St.    
49th Street (Accessible Northbound only) Manhattan Corner: 7th Ave. & 49th St.   
50th Street (Accessible Southbound only) Manhattan 49th St., West of 8th Ave.  
51st Street Manhattan Corner: 52nd St. & Lexington Ave.
59th Street – Columbus Circle Manhattan Corner: Columbus Cir. & Central Park West     
66th Street – Lincoln Manhattan Corner: 66th St. & Broadway  
72nd Street Manhattan Inside station house on 72nd St.   
96th Street Manhattan Inside station house on Broadway   
125th Street Manhattan Corner: 125th St. & Lexington Ave.   
125th Street Manhattan Corner: 125th St. & Saint Nicholas Ave.    
135th Street Manhattan Corner: 135th St. & Lenox Ave.  
168th Street Manhattan SE Corner: 168th St. & Saint Nicholas Ave.  
175th Street Manhattan Corner: 177th St. & Fort Washington Ave.
Bowling Green Manhattan NE Corner: Broadway & Battery Place  
Broadway-Lafayette/Bleecker St. Manhattan Houston St., between Lafayette/Crosby Sts.     
Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall Manhattan Chambers St. & Centre St.   
Canal Street Manhattan Corner: Canal St. & Lafayette St.
Chambers Street Manhattan Corner: Hudson St. & Chambers St.   
Cortlandt Street Manhattan Corner: Dey St. & Broadway
Dyckman St. (Southbound) Manhattan Corner: Hillside Ave. & St. Nicholas Ave.
Fulton Street Manhattan Corner: Dey St. & Broadway        
Grand Central – 42nd Street Manhattan Main Entrance, GC Terminal    
Inwood – 207th Street Manhattan Corner: Broadway & 207th St.
Lexington Avenue/53rd Street Manhattan Corner: 52nd St. & Lexington Ave.  
Lexington Avenue/63rd Street Manhattan Out of service until 7/2015
Roosevelt Island Manhattan
South Ferry [Closed] Manhattan Bowling Green is nearest accessible station.
Times Square – 42nd Street Manhattan SE Corner: 7th Ave. & 42nd St.       
West 4th Street Manhattan NE Corner: W 3rd St. & 6th Ave.       
World Trade Ctr. – Chambers St. Manhattan Elevator under construction.

 

AirTrain JFK

The AirTrain has three lines which are fully wheelchair accessible/ADA compliant.  All AirTrain routes include stops at John F. Kennedy International Airport terminals 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8.  The Jamaica line makes additional stops at Federal Circle and Jamaica Stations, while the Howard Beach route makes stops at Federal Circle, Lefferts Boulevard and Howard Beach stations.

From the Jamaica station, connections are available to:  New York City Subway lines E, J, and Z;  the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR);  and MTA New York City Transit/MTA Bus lines Q6, Q8, Q9, Q20A, Q20B, Q24, Q25, Q30, Q31, Q34, Q40, Q41, Q43, Q44, Q60 and Q65.  The LIRR trains offer the fastest service from Jamaica station to NY-Pennsylvania Station.

From the Lefferts Boulevard station, connections are available to:  MTA Bus line Q10 and New York City Transit Bus lineB15.

From the Howard Beach station, connections are available to:  New York City Subway line A;  MTA Bus Q11.

Use of the AirTrain between terminals is free of charge, but service to the Jamaica, Lefferts Boulevard and Howard Beach stations is $5.00 one way.

Long Island Rail Road System Map
Long Island Rail Road System Map

Long Island Rail Road (LIRR)

The Long Island Rail Road is a commuter rail network serving areas between Manhattan and the Eastern tip of Long Island.  The LIRR operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including all major holidays.  The network has 124 stations, the majority of which are wheelchair accessible.  Jamaica Station (connecting point to/from AirTrain JFK) and Manhattan’s Penn Station are both fully wheelchair accessible.  For more information on the accessibility of LIRR stations, CLICK HERE to access the MTA’s LIRR accessibility website.

All LIRR trains carry wheelchair ramps for easy access from the platform to the train car.  Wheelchair spaces are available inside the specially marked accessible cars.  To request a ramp to access the train, make contact with one of the train’s conductors who will set it up for boarding and again at your destination.  The gap between train and platform varies between stations and tracks, so it is best for wheelchair users to request the ramp each time.

Fares on the LIRR are based on zone/distance traveled and have peak/off-peak rates.  For more information on specific fares, consult the MTA website at mta.info.

Metro-North Rail Road Service Map
Metro-North Rail Road Service Map

Metro-North Rail Road

The Metro-North Rail Road is the MTA’s second commuter rail network serving areas within New York and southwestern Connecticut.  Metro-North service goes as far as New Haven, Connecticut.  The network has 122 stations spread across five lines, the majority of which are wheelchair accessible.  Three of the system’s lines originate from New York’s Grand Central Station, including the lines which terminate in Connecticut.  For more information on the accessibility of Metro-North stations, CLICK HERE to access the MTA’s Metro-North accessibility website.

City Bus

MTA buses in the city of New York are accessible to the disabled and users of wheelchairs.  All buses are equipped with a wheelchair ramp and lowered floor or a mechanical lift.  For MTA bus schedules and maps, CLICK HERE.