to use, if the machine is not working, there is also a subway attendant at the Subway booth
directly next to the machines, where you can purchase your tickets.
While all the subways remain in service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, some less-busy
station entrances may be closed at some hours - but the main entrance will be open all the
time. You can tell if an entrance is open 24 hours is that there is a green light over it -
entrances with red lights are either locked part of the time, or can be accessed only with
MetroCards can be used for either subway service or on the bus service. Depending on the
type of MetroCard that you purchased, you can share your card with a friend. You have
the option to buy a card with a set dollar amount (which you can increase by adding more
money on the card at the Subway Automated Machines), or you can buy a card with unlim-
ited use for a certain period of time. The cards with set monetary values may be used for
several riders , while the ones with unlimited rides cannot. Once an unlimited card is used,
that card cannot be reused for 18 minutes, to prevent people from passing the card back for
reuse by someone else.
Using the MetroCard
Once you have your MetroCard set with your preference of monetary or unlimited value,
walk over to the turnstile. There is an electronic device with a slot where you “swipe”
your card, at which point the device will give you an electronic message. All turnstiles are
“right-handed” devices; swipe in the device on the right side of the turnstile you are enter-
ing. The device will give you a message. If it says “go”, walk through the turnstile. If it
says “swipe again”, do so - most first-time users have a tendency to swipe too slowly, and
the machine cannot read the card. If it says this message, swipe again.
Finding the Right Subway Train
Once you have entered the turnstile, you continue to the “platform” of the direction that you
are going. In most cases, this is further downstairs -- although it may be directly in front of
you. Keep in mind that some stations are large complexes, and have more platform areas
than one . Look at the signs that show what lines stop there, and also whether that platform
is for “uptown” or “downtown” trains. As we have learned, “uptown” means north, while
“downtown” means heading south.
The colors of the lines just refer to the streets in midtown Manhattan under which they
travel, in order to keep the map from being too confusing. New York City's subway trains