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How to Get from JFK to Manhattan Quickly and Easily

  • Air Travel
  • Renee Martin
  • 7 minutes

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Getting from JFK to Manhattan can sound daunting especially considering you’ll need to battle around 20 miles of the infamous New York Traffic. So how do you get from JFK to Manhattan with minimum fuss and delay? Don’t worry – several transportation options, from taxis and buses to trains and shuttles. This guide will give you all the information you need on how to get from JFK to Manhattan in no time!

So you land in NYC’s JFK airport, all chipper and eager to begin the conquest of the Big Apple. But after all the traveling, you probably just want to get to your destination already. And the odds are that your destination is in or close to Manhattan.  Cos’ Manhattan is where it’s it.

The bright side is that you have choices. It could be as simple as hopping in a taxi, but you might also need multiple transfers. All of this depends totally on your budget, your exact destination, and the amount of luggage you’re hauling. As always, the best course of action is to plan ahead, and to that end, here’s a breakdown of all the ways you get from JFK to Manhattan.

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Getting from JFK to Manhattan: Transportation options

The most popular ways to get from JFK to Manhattan are by

  • Taxi/Rideshare
  • Shuttle
  • AirTrain
  • Car Service

We’ll analyze each of these options in detail.

Taxi/Rideshare from JFK to Manhattan

For first-time visitors to New York City who are a little leery about using the subway, a taxi ride is the most stress-free option between JFK and Manhattan. The downside is that this is the most expensive option to get to Manhattan from JFK. Also, depending on the state of the roads and traffic, it could end up being the slowest option.

However, if you’re tired after a long travel or have a lot of luggage, it could be more convenient to have someone else take you there. Splitting a taxi with a group of friends or family members is cheaper than buying individual rail tickets.

Taxis from JFK to anywhere in Manhattan cost the same flat rate of $52, so you won’t have to sweat the unknown when leaving the airport. Still, it’s unlikely that would be the final cost. The “peak hours” surcharge applies between 4 and 8 p.m. on weekdays. Tolls, if applicable, will also be included in the total price. Finally, if you received satisfactory service, it is usual to tip your driver between 15 and 20 percent.

Take one of the official NYC yellow cabs from the stand outside each terminal as you leave the airport. Ignore any other drivers who approach you offering taxi service; doing so is against the law, and they are not licensed taxis.

If opting for Uber or Lyft, check the rates carefully before booking, as the cost can go over $65 or more due to surge pricing.

Obviously, traffic is an important variable here. Times Square is located approximately 17 miles from JFK Airport, making the drive between 45 minutes and an hour. Aim for a minimum of an hour and a half if you plan on arriving during the weekday morning commute.

However, if you have the time and money for it, a taxi/Uber/Lyft is one of the easiest options, especially if you’re traveling with a friend or two who can split the costs with you.

Shuttle from JFK to Manhattan

Don’t feel like paying $60 for a cab but also don’t want to haul your luggage about on a train? You can take advantage of the many private shuttle services that run all day long in Manhattan and take passengers directly to Grand Central, Times Square, Penn Station, or even their hotels.

You can reserve a seat with NYC GO Airlink if you’d want the option of being dropped off anywhere, including at the front door of your hotel. While the cost is more than a shared bus ride, you have the same flexibility as a cab and can choose where you want to be dropped off. However, given that it is a shared shuttle, your actual trip time may differ greatly depending on whether you are the first or last passenger to be dropped off.

You can take a shared shuttle to JFK starting at $38 or arrange a private transfer. Even though renting a private shuttle can be more expensive, it is often well worth it if several people travel.

A car can accommodate up to three passengers, while a VIP SUV can accommodate up to six. Most services that offer a private automobile also include a tip. If three persons are traveling together, the total cost of $151 works out to about $51 per person. In my opinion, that’s priceless!

AirTrain from JFK to Manhattan

JFK AirTrain to Manhattan

AirTrain + Subway

A tram called the AirTrain connects JFK Airport terminals to the Jamaica Station and Howard Beach stations outside the airport, providing access to the city itself. Getting to Manhattan from Jamaica Station usually requires a change of trains.

Jamaica Station (Lines E, Z, or J) and Howard Beach Station (Lines F, G, M, or N) are the two subway stops that are accessible via the Airtrain (Line A). If you have to get to Manhattan, either one will do. If you’re coming from Howard Beach Station, the A Line will bring you into Manhattan first, but if you’re leaving from Jamaica Station, you’ll get there sooner on the lines that depart from Jamaica.

This is the cheapest option to get from JFK to Manhattan at a total of $10.50, including AirTrain and metro fare. If you have a lot of luggage or particularly large baggage, the AirTrain and the subway are still the least convenient modes of transportation.

Air Train + Long Island Railroad

The AirTrain, which links to the Long Island Railroad (LIRR), is nearly twice as expensive as the subway but faster if time is of the essence. In the airport, once again, take the AirTrain to Jamaica Station. From there, you can board an LIRR train to Penn Station in Manhattan’s Midtown.  When figuring out how much everything will cost, remember that getting to your hotel by subway, bus, or taxi will probably increase that cost.

The total price is $16 (which includes the $5.25 AirTrain charge and the $10.75 LIRR fare). Trains between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. and 4 a.m. and 8 p.m. are considered peak times, and the prices listed below reflect that. If you can, try to catch an off-peak train; fares will be reduced.

Private Car Service

If you’d like assistance getting your bags to your car or a looking to get to Manhattan in a premium sedan or a limo, you should arrange for a vehicle service to take you up from the terminal. This luxury does not come cheap, no siree! You’ll find out the cost when you book the car. If your flight is delayed, you should find out if there are any fines associated with waiting.

And finally, we come to secret option no 5

Phone a Friend


This is, without a doubt, the most affordable method of transportation between JFK and Manhattan, provided your friend truly likes you and that they don’t charge you a dime for it!

Is there a bus from JFK to Manhattan?

There are no direct buses from JFK to Manhattan.

How much does it cost to get from JFK to Manhattan?

Mode Cost Duration
AirTrain Approx. $10.50 60–90 minutes
Taxi $52-$65 45 minutes
Airport Shuttle from $35-50 90 minutes


Is it cheaper to take a taxi or Uber from JFK to Manhattan?

Most yellow taxis charge a flat rate of $52 to get you from JFK to Manhattan. An Uber can go all the way up to $65 if there’s surge pricing.

Explore more on JFK Terminals

JFK Terminal Map

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