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The fastest way to get from Newark Airport to New York City

Dec. 12, 2019
11 min read
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Despite being located in New Jersey, Newark Airport (EWR) is actually only 16 miles from midtown Manhattan which makes it a workable option for your next trip to the Big Apple. Actually, depending on where you're staying, you actually might find Newark to be more convenient than both LaGuardia (LGA) and John F. Kennedy (JFK). Once you deplane, there are plenty of ways to make your way over the Hudson River and into the city -- but which one is the fastest option?

Here we will look at all the ways to get from Newark Airport to New York City. Your final destination in New York City and the cost will help determine the mode of transportation that works best for you and your family.

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Manhattan view from the Top of the Rock (Miguel Sanz / Getty Images)
Manhattan view from the Top of the Rock. (Photo by Miguel Sanz/Getty Images.)

AirTrain to NJ Transit

One of the biggest considerations when traveling to or from Newark airport during a trip to Manhattan is traffic. What might otherwise be a 20-minute trip could easily take an hour when traffic is bad. When returning to Newark after your trip, you have to bake in a good buffer, or you could end up missing your flight.

Related: The fastest ways to get from JFK to Manhattan

This is where AirTrain comes into play. AirTrain is a rail line that transports passengers between all three Newark Airport terminals, parking garages, rental car facilities and Newark Liberty Airport Station. From Newark Liberty Airport Station you can take a NJ Transit train right into New York Penn Station.

Although AirTrain runs 24 hours a day throughout the year, NJ Transit has no service between the hours of 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. A one-way ticket from the airport to New York Penn Station is $15.25 (ages 11 and under are $3.50; children 4 and under are free).

You can purchase a ticket at any ticket kiosk before getting on the AirTrain or through the New Jersey transit app. Make sure to purchase a ticket to New York Penn Station and not Newark Penn Station. The ticket includes your AirTrain ticket and your New Jersey train ticket combined. (Note: Make sure to hold onto your ticket as you'll need to use it twice.)

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The actual AirTrain ride is between seven and 11 minutes, depending on which terminal you land at, then you'll transfer to NJ Transit. The NJ Transit ride is approximately 30 minutes, with New York Penn Station being the last stop. There are no other stops in Manhattan prior to arriving at Penn Station. If your hotel is not near Penn Station, you can access many subway lines right inside the building (just follow the signs) or walk outside to grab a taxi or Uber.

(Photo by Maxian/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maxian/Getty Images)

AirTrain to NJ Transit to PATH

If you are staying in lower Manhattan, you might want to take a slightly different route. You'll still take AirTrain to NJ Transit, but instead of going all the way into the city, get off at the Newark Penn Station terminal. From here, take the PATH train toward Manhattan and get off at the World Trade Center stop. The total ride is approximately 40 minutes. The cost is slightly less expensive, although you'll need two separate tickets. You'll first purchase an AirTrain/NJ Transit ticket, similar to above, which will cost $10.75 one-way per adult (children between the ages of 5–11 are $1.25). Once at the PATH, you'll purchase another ticket specifically for the PATH train, which costs $2.75 per person (children 5 and under are free).

For those staying in Jersey City instead of Manhattan, you can follow these same directions, but get off the PATH train at Exchange Place -- which is the stop right before entering Manhattan. In Jersey City, you'll find two great Hyatt options: the Hyatt House Jersey City and the Hyatt Regency Jersey City.

Related: The best Hyatt Category 4 hotels for family vacations

You can also take Bus 62 from outside the terminal to Newark Penn Station and from there, take the PATH train. This is your least expensive option, as the bus is just $1.60 one-way (exact fare required) plus $2.75 for the PATH. You are limited with luggage on the bus, however, and the travel time will take longer. Alternatively, you can take an Uber/Lyft from the airport to Newark Penn Station. The cost is slightly more expensive, but will get you there significantly quicker.

(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Express bus service

Newark Airport Express bus is also an economical mode of transportation, especially if you are traveling by yourself -- but you'll be at the mercy of traffic. Buses run 365 days a year and depart Newark Airport between the hours of 4 a.m. and 1 a.m. Depending on the time of the day, a new bus is supposed to depart every 15 to 30 minutes. Although traffic can significantly delay the bus. The round-trip fare is $30 (or $17 one-way) for an adult. There are discounted fares for children, seniors and military.

Once in Manhattan, you have your choice of three different stops: Port Authority, Bryant Park and Grand Central Station. From either of those three stops, you can take a subway to your final destination.

If you are traveling during an off-peak time and are staying near one of those three locations, this could be a great, inexpensive and relatively fast way to get into the city. A one-way trip typically takes anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes.

(Photo courtesy of Newark Airport Express/Facebook)
(Photo courtesy of Newark Airport Express/Facebook)

Taxi or app-based ride-hailing service

Getting a taxi or ride-sharing car into the city is probably your quickest and easiest option if you are traveling during off-peak times. This is also a better option if public transportation won't take you close to your final destination (such as the Upper East Side or Upper West Side). You also won't have to worry about carrying luggage through train terminals and you'll be dropped off right at your final destination. Of course, you'll be paying a higher fee for the convenience.

Related: The best credit cards for Uber and Lyft

Taxis are metered and you'll also be on the hook for tolls and hit with an airport surcharge. With everything added on, plus a tip, you can easily be looking at a $70+ charge one-way, depending on where you are headed. If you have a decent-size group or a lot of luggage, you can opt for a taxi van at no additional cost.

Uber, Lyft and Via are also an option and will allow you to request a ride right from the jet bridge. When we compared pricing at the same exact time to get from Newark Airport to Grand Central in New York City, we found that Lyft was the cheapest option at around $45 (If you were traveling solo and opted for the shared service option, you could be down to just $33). You'll be required to pay any tolls on top of the base price.

Related: Make sure you're getting your Amex Platinum Uber credits

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 30: A Lyft ride hailing vehicle moves through traffic in Manhattan on July 30, 2018 in New York City. After a significant increase in local traffic and a spate of suicides by taxi drivers, New York City is planning to vote on capping ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft. The City Council's move to vote on the measures could come as soon as Aug. 8. If the vote was to succeed, New York City would become the first major U.S. municipality to cap ride-sharing services. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Related: Why I now avoid ride-hailing services whenever I can

Car service

If you want a ride waiting for you right when you walk outside of the airport, a car service is the way to go. Surprisingly, this is not your most expensive option and is comparable to the cost of an Uber/Lyft/Via. It's also a fixed rate without any surprises at the end of your trip. With this option, however, you'll need to make advance reservations. I recommend booking the trip at least 48 hours ahead of time.

Dial7 and Carmel Limo are two reputable car service companies. Carmel Limo is typically a few dollars less expensive, with rates starting at $46 one-way from Newark to Manhattan (plus tip). Depending on the time of day, your desired car and your destination within Manhattan, your rate might increase. Carmel Limo also partners with many loyalty programs, so you can earn Delta, American, Alaska, El Al, United and Hawaiian miles for every ride you take, or opt to earn points in Carmel Limo's own loyalty program.

Again, car service providers will add on any tolls and airport fees incurred.

(Photo courtesy of Groundlink)
(Photo courtesy of Groundlink)

Shared shuttle

If you are traveling by yourself, or possibly with just one another person, you might find Go Airlink NYC a convenient option. This shuttle service will pick you up at the terminal and take you to your final destination within New York City. This is a shared shuttle service though, so do not be surprised if you make additional stops along the way once in the city. This could potentially add a significant amount of time onto your ride. Pricing is $22 per person per day (children under 3 are free). Promo code SHUTTLE will get you 5% off.

This option is not cost-effective if you are traveling with more than two passengers. At that point, you are probably likely better off hiring a car service or taking an Uber/Lyft/Via.

(Photo courtesy of GoAirlink Shuttle NYC)
(Photo courtesy of GoAirlink Shuttle NYC)

Bottom line

With many transportation options into the city from Newark Airport, you are bound to find an option that works best for your family. Many might like the inexpensive and consistent option of the train, while others would prefer a car to take them to the front door of their hotel or AirBnB. Ultimately, the time of day and your final destination will play a big part in which turns out to be the fastest and best option for you.

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