How to get the NYC Express Bus from JFK Airport to Manhattan

What you need to know

Passengers are asking the question if there is a bus service to New York City. The answer is not a straight answer and a passenger needs more information to make an informative decision. There is a public transportation bus that you can take from JFK airport and that will connect you to the New York Subway system. There is no public transportation bus (New York City Bus) does not go to Manhattan directly.

There is another bus service, which is known as the JFK Airport Express Bus or NYC Express Bus and it will take you directly from the JFK Airport to Manhattan.

What is the Express Bus?

The Express Bus is a public transportation service that connects the JFK airport with Manhattan. It is an express service and it makes only three stops in Manhattan. The company Golden Touch (previously known as NYC Airporter) is authorized to provide transportation services from and to the airport. They have recently rebranded their name and they are now called NYC Express Bus by Golden Touch Transportation.

The buses run from JFK airport to Manhattan from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm every 30 minutes.

Where can I find the Express Bus at JFK Airport?

The NYC Express Bus stops at Terminal 1, Terminal 4 and Terminal 8. If you are in one of the other terminals, you can get the AirTrain to one of the above terminals. Also you can walk from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1. It is a short walk and it takes only two minutes. Moreover you can walk from Terminal 5 to Terminal 4 and it faster than taking the AirTrain. It is a 5 minute short walk.

The bus stops right outside the terminals. If you don’t have a ticket you can purchase a ticket from the authorized NYC Express Bus agent. They wear a yellow vest with the Golden Touch logo on the back. You buy the ticket from the agent before boarding the bus. If you have a prepaid ticket or voucher, you can meet the agent and exchange the voucher for a ticket.

Usually the agent are outside by the curbside next to a red sign that advertise the NYC Express Bus. Sometimes due to extreme weather conditions, the agent are located inside the terminals next to the Welcome Centers. At Terminal 4 the NYC Express Bus desk is located next to the Dunkin Donuts, on the right hand side as you exit from Customs (International flights) or straight ahead if you exit domestic flights. If you are unable to locate the agent, proceed to the Welcome Center and ask the Airport Customer Experience Agent (ACES) for help. They will be happy to point you to the right direction.

All NYC Express Buses are black and easily recognizable by the Golden Touch Transportation Logo on the side of the bus. Also note that all NYC Express Buses are not Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible.

How much is the Express Bus fare?

You have the option to buy a one way or round trip tickets from the NYC Express Bus agents. One way ticket is $19.00 and round trip is $35.00. You can pay for the tickets with cash or credit card. If you want to buy a round trip ticket, the ticket is valid for 30 days from the date of your first trip. If you buy the tickets online, then the tickets are valid for 90 days. If you are traveling with kids, all kids under 5 years old travel for free.

You also have the option to buy your tickets online. You purchase the tickets online, you print them and take them with you. When you get to JFK airport, you are ready to go. Just located the bus, board the bus and present your printed confirmation to the driver when you board. That saves you from the hassle of trying to find the agent to buy the tickets. One less thing to worry about.

How many luggage can I carry on the NYC Express Bus?

When you purchase an Express bus ticket, you are allowed for up to two (2) suitcases and one carry-on. There are times that a passenger might travel with more than two luggage. In the case you have more than two luggage, then you have to purchase an additional regular priced ticket for each additional piece of luggage.

Are pets allowed on the NYC Express Bus?

Pets are prohibited except for service animals.

Where are the stops located in Manhattan?

The NYC Express Bus makes three stops in total. The bus stops at Grand Central, Bryant Park (Times Square) and Port Authority Bus Terminal. All stops are along the 42nd Street. If you have a round trip ticket and are planning to take the NYC Express Bus back to JFK, you can get the bus only from Grand Central or Port Authority Bus Terminal locations. Just make sure you ask the driver where the pickup locations are.

Many hotels in the Times Square area are convenient located within walking distance from the Times Square and Bryant Park stops. If you have any questions about how far from the bus stop a hotel is, you can always ask for more information from one of the airport Customer Care agents.

Is the Express Bus safe?

As with all methods of transportation in New York City, the NYC Express Bus is safe. The service operates from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm and the bus always has passengers. Safety is a major concern for the Airport Authority and the bus operator and they follow all required safeguards. If during your trip you encounter an uncomfortable situation, do not hesitate to talk to the driver. In any case you can also call the company and report any issues with safety or service at 718-777-5111.

How long is the ride to Manhattan?

The Express Bus to NYC makes only three stops in Manhattan and it operates from 11:00am to 7:00pm. Usually the bus will leave terminal 8 and make two additional stops at Terminal 1 and Terminal 4 to take additional passengers. Then it is on its way to New York City. The distance from JFK Terminal 4 to Port Authority Bus Terminal (Times Square) is 18 miles (29 kilometers). Depending on traffic it can take from about an hour in light traffic conditions, but it can take up to two hours during rush hour and congested roadways. On average I would say that the trip can take about 90 to complete.

How long is the ride to Manhattan?

All NYC Express Bus drivers at the end of their shift return all lost items to the company’s main office which is located in Astoria, New York.  The address is 45-02 Ditmars Boulevard Astoria, NY 11105. For additional information you can contact Golden Touch at 718-777-5111. You can also use their web form to submit a message by clicking this link.

Keypoints - Things to remember

  • The NYC Express Bus fare is $19.00 one way and $35.00 round trip.
  • All children under 5 are traveling for free.
  • You can find the bus at JFK at Terminals 1, 4 and 8.
  • You buy the tickets from the agent at the terminal location.
  • Make sure you keep the receipt in case you need to contact the bus company
  • The ride is comfortable and safe.
  • The trip can take from one hour to two hours in extreme traffic conditions but you should expect 90 minutes in average.
  • The NYC Express Bus is available from 11:00am to 7:00 pm every 30 minutes.

Are you ready to buy tickets for the NYC Express Bus?