There are three airports that make it easy to access New York City: JFK and LGA in New York and EWG in New Jersey. I almost always choose the fly in and out of LGA and that’s because of the free LaGuardia airport bus, called the Q70.
Pre-COVID, I rarely paid more than USD$30-40 to take a cab or UBER from LGA or JFK, but during recent visits in the last year or two, the taxis outside LaGuardia have been asking for $65-80 to get me to Times Square. This seemed outrageous to me, so last year I decided — for the first time — to try taking public transit from the airport to Manhattan. And, OMG, it couldn’t have been easier! Plus, it cost me the whopping sum of $3 to do it.
Unless you’re from a big city with a complex transit system, I know the idea of taking a bus to a subway can seem intimidating, but I promise: I’ve got you. I’m going to break this down for you step by step and you’re gonna be fine.
Yes! There’s a free bus called the Q70 (a.k.a. LaGuardia Link, a.k.a the LaGuardia airport bus) that’ll pick you up in Terminals B or C at LGA and take you directly — again, for FREE — to the Jackson Hts-Roosevelt Av St subway (Metro) station, which serves a whole bunch of different public transit options:
- the 7, E, and F trains (at all times)
- the R train (all the time, except late-night)
- the M train (weekdays, except late-night)
- the F train (rush-hour only — in the reverse direction during peak-times)
You’ll find the E train is typically a solid option for a lot of your NYC sightseeing, and it’s a great one from LGA particularly if you’re staying in Times Square. But only you know where you’re staying, and you can refer to these NYC subway maps to find the best route after you get off the Q70 bus.
Pro tip: use Google Maps ahead of your trip to figure out the best transit route from the Roosevelt Av-Jackson Heights subway station, where the Q70 drops you off after you arrive at LGA, to your accommodations in NYC. It’s a big station and it’ll help you feel more confident if you at least know which line you need to take (and in which direction you’ll head).
Will it take more time than a taxi or UBER? Yes. But only about 15 minutes more, on average, and that’s worth it to me to save this kind of money. After all, doing just about everything in NYC tends to fall on the pricier side — so I like to save where I can.
How to take the LaGuardia airport bus from LGA to Manhattan
To be fair, it wasn’t always like this. LaGuardia seemed to be everyone’s least-favourite airport and preferred getting into the city from JFK or Newark (EWG). That’s because they used to be the most direct and efficient — and therefore cheapest — options if you wanted to avoid taxi fares and take public transportation.
That’s no longer true, because the LaGuardia airport bus (Q70) is free.
If you fly into either JFK or Newark, you’ve got to hop on the AirTrain for $8.25 per person and then transfer to the subway for another $3 per person. Now, $11.25 ain’t bad in the grand scheme of global airport transfers — but $3 is a whole lot better. Plus, LaGuardia finished a major facelift in 2022 and it’s a beautiful, user-friendly airport now with lots of natural light and plenty of signage.
Taking the LaGuardia airport bus downtown in 10 easy steps — with photos:
Now, keep in mind all of my experience — and the photos that follow — are based on flying in and out of Terminal B at LGA; that’s where Air Canada is and that’s my most frequent choice. But I can’t imagine it’s all that different taking the LaGuardia airport bus from Terminal C.
Step 1: Walk towards Baggage Claim and Ground Transportation.
Step 2: Look for the Buses and Shuttles signage.
Step 3: Go down one more floor when you see the Shuttles and Buses sign.
Step 4: Descend one last escalator.
Step 5: Follow the arrows to the Q70 bus (under MTA Buses to Subway).
Step 6: Look for the pillar dedicated to the Q70 bus.
Step 7: Get on the right bus!
Step 8: Watch for your stop.
Step 9: Get off the bus and walk into the Metro (subway) station.
Step 10: Buy a Metro ticket or an unlimited weekly pass.
That’s it — you made it! And now it’s just three bucks to get anywhere you want to go…Manhattan’s bustling Times Square, Brooklyn’s edgy Williamsburg neighbourhood, SoHo and Nolita, you name it.
And now that the LaGuardia airport bus has gotten you this far, here’s some other helpful content for your visit to the Big Apple:
- The best cheap hotels in NYC
- A map and detailed descriptions of all my favourite restaurants – NYC
- Things to do in NYC with teens (and with basically anyone else…this post is GOLD!)
- A 4-day New York itinerary
- Things to do in New York City in the rain
- How to spend a weekend in Brooklyn
DISCLAIMER: This post is not sponsored in any way. Please keep in mind that prices were accurate at time of writing but the city can raise prices at any time.