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Guide to Riding the Public Bus in New York City

Still unsure of how to ride a public bus in New York City? In this guide, we will help you learn all you need to know to get through town through the public commute. You will find many white and blue buses that operate in the city with over 14,000 stops in five boroughs. Nearly every block has one of those stops, so you are sure to find one.

Here’s our guide to riding the public bus in New York City.

Check Where the Buses Stop

Most bus stops have an accurate guide map, which is a rectangular box that displays the entire route of the bus. You will also find schedules as the local courses are designated by a letter with a number. Regarding New York, routes with the letter M mainly operate in Manhattan, while B is for Brooklyn, S is for Staten Island, Q is for Queens, and BX is for the Bronx.

However, some stops serve more than one bus route. In fact, routes marked with an X stand for express routes. Be sure to check out the guide-a-ride map to make sure that your bus will stop there. Buses will display their route number and often offer limited stops services. These types of limited stops are usually at major crossings, attractions, and transfer points.

Board the Public Bus

Once you have determined the particular route, wait until the bus arrives. The bus will come to a kneel and tilt down toward the curb to make passengers board easier. If you still have questions about your transportation, all you have to do is ask the bus driver.

Pay the Fare

The fair box will be located in the front of the bus as you board. Be sure to have the exact change as bus operators do not accept bills or pennies. A better alternative is to purchase a Metro Card at the subway station to remove the hassle of looking for a change. Children below 44 inches will also be able to ride the bus for free.


You can also transfer between buses with intersecting routes for free. All you had to do is request a transfer ticket from the bus driver once you pay the fare. Be sure to give the transfer to the driver when you catch the connecting bus.

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