This Is the Mess You’ll Have to Go Through to Get a Ride at NYC’s LaGuardia Airport

May 15, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

In case you missed it, New York City’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA) is a mess. It originally opened back in 1939 — and certainly feels this old in some parts — and today, handles roughly 30 million passengers a year as one of the three major NYC airports. Due to its age and constant state of disrepair, LGA is in the midst of a $4 billion “redevelopment” project, and while this is generally good news, it’s created an even bigger mess in the meantime. So, if you haven’t already heeded our advice to avoid LaGuardia entirely, here’s an idea of the transit nightmare you can expect to encounter when you land there.

Taxi / Uber / Lyft / Any Other Car Service

Port Authority stats show that 75% of passengers going to and from LGA use a taxi or car service. Problem is, the airport made it a lot harder to do so for passengers arriving into Terminal B. Pick-ups are forbidden from outside the terminal — and there are officers there ready to enforce this. I even saw an Uber driver being threatened with a ticket as his riders were about to put their bags in the car — then again, these riders had passed plenty of signs indicating this wasn’t allowed, including some shown on monitors in the baggage claim, like this one:

LGA Uber Instructions in terminal

When I was arriving, there was an Uber representative in the terminal offering assistance and telling riders how to meet up with their drivers.

LGA Uber rep and sign about changes

Outside in the former pick-up area, there are large signs saying “Where’s My Ride?” saying that you’ll have to take a shuttle bus to a specific pick-up area for “Car Services: App-Based Rides and Black Car Pick-up.”

Along the way toward the shuttle, there are signs counting down the distance — including measurements in feet, minutes and city blocks, an officially-recognized unit of measurement here in the Big Apple.

LGA sign to shuttle buses

This time around, I opted to use public transit, but TPG’s Associate Editor Emily McNutt and Senior Writer Julian Mark Kheel recently went through this process: The shuttle bus takes you about five minutes away to a separate lot where passengers have to track down their Uber driver in a sea of cars. Unfortunately, since you have no longer have any control over the exact pick-up point, many drivers and riders alike have resorted to just yelling out names to find each other. As you can imagine, it’s quite a mess.

Public Transportation

Unlike New York City’s other airports — JFK and Newark (EWR) — LGA doesn’t have an “AirTrain” to ferry passengers to and from the terminals, so all connections are going to be via ground transport — unless, of course, you can afford $695 for a helicopter transfer. To get to Manhattan, your best bet is to take the M60 bus — which connects you to the N and W lines (in Astoria) and northern parts of Manhattan and the Bronx (via the 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, A, B, C and D subway lines) — or the Q70 bus, which connects to the 7, E, F, M or R subway lines and Long Island Rail Road. Additional transit connections are listed in the chart, below.

LGA public transit

Unfortunately, this isn’t an easy process either. As noted on signs in terminal B, “All Public Buses and Airport, Hotel and Car Rental Shuttles have Relocated to the Departures Level,” so you’re going to have to make your way from the baggage claim up to the departures level and go outside to catch all buses and shuttles.

Once you make your way to the pick-up area, you might not notice through the crowds that there are ticket machines at the bus stop. These are important as you can’t pay through any method (cash/credit/MetroCard) on-board and you must have a ticket before boarding. Thankfully, the buses are large though. There was some jockeying for position as the Q70 bus arrived, but everyone in the crowd of passengers waiting with me was able to fit — although it was standing-room only.

LGA loading the Q70

But the crowds don’t end there. Once the bus dropped passengers at the Roosevelt Av/Jackson Heights 7 train station, there were large crowds of riders all hoping to catch the same subway.

LGA transport - crowd for E train

Bottom Line

As we’ve already noted, LGA is quite a mess. Through at least 2021 — when the project is supposed to be completed — you can expect major hassles and headaches when flying through here. Before then, we hope that the airport can make the rideshare pick-ups process easier than it currently is and run more shuttle and subway-connecting buses to help ease conditions for those flying in and out of this popular NYC airport.

Featured image courtesy of Al Seib via Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.