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From Manhattan to JFK airport for $2.25 and Fast

Traveling from JFK to Manhattan (or Vice Versa) has never been really easy even if willing to pay whatever is necessary. (scroll down to "The Answer" to skip the preamble)

A taxi will be a good $40 plus tip (even to Brooklyn or Queens).
There's also the train from Penn Station (or Brooklyn's Atlantic Ave) to Jamaica (about $7), then AirTrain ($5).
Of course there's also the long subway wide to wither Jamaica or Howard Beach ($2.25) and then the AirTrain ($5) [this is the most common suggested route as you can see here]

However, hidden at plan sight (and very suspiciously unadvertised  is a mean to get to/from the airport to Manhattan (or anywhere else in the city, Brooklyn being the easiest borough to access this way) for only the cost of a public transport ride. $2.25 !

There are 3 bus lines that hit JFK at. The Q3 goes deep into Queens so the locals in that area should know how to use it! The B15 does a similar trip though the far parts of East New York (Brooklyn) and is also used by the locals of that region. However these 2 lines don't connect to the subway in a way that it would be convenient for the general public and are only used by locals who from what I've seen mostly work at JFK.

The Answer

The 3rd option however, NYC bus Q10 is the best choice. Like the B15, it stops at the Leffert Blvd. stop of the AirTrain (where you can exit without paying for the AirTrain) and also at a very hard to find spot at Terminal 5/6 like the other 3 lines (get to T5/6 walking or by a free AirTrain ride and look for the "MTA Bus" signs).

The trick then is to hop on the Q10 and ride for about 25 min to the beginning of the North branch on the blue (A) subway line, the Ozone Park - Lefferts Blvd station and hop on a Manhattan bound A train that will traverse all Brooklyn express and let you transfer into basically any other subway line in the process. Hell you can take this to the Bronx! The beauty of this is that your MetroCard will transfer you from the bus to the subway for free. (Getting on the subway station does require however going up some stairs.)

And here's the map:

View Larger Map

*may not show the exact route I described due to the time tables of the bus system but believe me it can be done.

Total travel time? It depends where you're going. About 1 hour and 15 minutes to midtown. Not bad at all for a little over 2 bucks...

Quircks: You need a MetroCard with at least $2.25 on it (or valid unlimited) to take the bus BUT there's no MTA vending machines at JFK that I know of (esxept at final stops on the AirTrain, very suspicious) but some stores such as Hudson News on Terminal 4 (arrivals) sell MetroCards.

A special perk of this route is that between the bus and the subway you can make a stop at a grocery store or restaurant at Ozone Park if you're in need of anything and not pay the airport prices :) while still not having to wait until arriving to the city center.


Seriously NJ Transit. What's the reason to make it so freaking difficult to access the cheapest way of transport to/from JFK? I can only think that its a combination of fear in overloading the Q10 route (which already get's quite packed with airport employees) and an attempt to fund or do business with tourists by forcing them to pay for the AirTrain.

-Jorge Orpinel, Sept. 2012.

P.S. It took me like 3 years of constant flights using JFK to figure this route out BTW


  1. The stop is not so difficult to find. Follow the "MTAbus" signs from AirTrain T5/6 station. And card is easy to get too - Hudson News - Terminal 4. Thanks for info!

  2. You're quite right Peter! Sorry it took me so long to publish your post, I had so many spam comments to moderate.


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