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What are the options for travelling from JFK Airport to Yonkers? Would I be able to get a taxi at the airport, if so what would be a ball park figure for the cost? Someone warned me that drivers only want fares into NYC and it might be difficult to find a taxi. Is it possible to pre-book a taxi? Speed and convenience is more of an issue than cost.

Google is suggesting public transport is a complicated trip taking nearly 3 hours. Is public transport really this bad?

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    Google (to me) suggests slightly less than 2 hours via Jamaica station, which does not sound all that unreasonable for ~42km. At rush hour Google say 1hr-2hrs to drive, and 40 min- 1hour at 9:30pm. Nov 12, 2016 at 19:34
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    The main source of trouble with public transport is probably that LIRR trains from JFK terminate at Penn Station, while Metro North trains to Yonkers originate at Grand Central, and there is no direct subway line between the two stations. Additionally, LIRR and Metro North are mainly oriented toward commuter travel, and have less frequent service outside rush hour, meaning potentially longer wait for a train. Nov 12, 2016 at 19:46
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    If you want to pre-book a ride in NYC, you don't want a taxi but rather a "black car" or "livery cab". Or Uber / Lyft / etc. Nov 12, 2016 at 19:48
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    NYC yellow taxis are required to accept passengers who want to go to Westchester county. Taxis at the airports are dispatched through a formal system at the taxi stands, so the dispatcher will enforce this. Note that the portion of the trip beyond the city limit will be metered at a higher rate (twice, if I recall correctly). You will also have to pay any tolls. Other destinations that cannot be refused are NYC itself, Nassau county, and Newark airport.
    – phoog
    Nov 12, 2016 at 20:26

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The answer to how to do this trip by public transit is now improved!

The MTA has finally opened its "Grand Central Madison" project, so some Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) trips from Jamaica station now go to Grand Central instead of Penn Station.

The quickest travel public transit route at most times of the day is now to:

  • take the Airtrain from JFK to Jamaica station ($8)
  • take a LIRR train from Jamaica to Grand Central ($10.75 during rush hour; $5 "City Ticket" at other times)
  • transfer at Grand Central to a Metro-North train to Yonkers ($11.50 during rush hour; $8.75 at other times)

So the total cost is something between $21.75 and $30.25 depending on the time of day. Approximate journey time is 1h 33m as per Google Maps.

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  • Interestingly it looks like LIRR doesn't save that much time. Google estimates 1h 33m for LIRR vs 1h 41m without LIRR. But you do get 1 less transfer.
    – JonathanReez
    Mar 1, 2023 at 16:10
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My to-go solution in the public transit challenged places like most of the United States is a shared shuttle.

In this case, some Googling found (ie. I never tried them) http://shuttleme.net/

Shuttleme schedule

There's also http://www.allcountyexpress.com/westchester_schedule.html but I can't find a way to book it online.

This seems to be only marginally cheaper than the 67-80 USD taxi fare @pnuts found and for less than 90 USD you could even hire a private sedan to take you there.

Probably the best balance between price and convenience is the Airporter bus to Grand Central for $18 and then the Hudson Line (Metro-North) to Yonkers for $10.50 peak / $7.75 off peak.

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Mass transit really isn't so bad. I just tried Google and it doesn't seem to know what's available.

  1. Take the AirTrain from JFK airport to Jamaica station. This costs $8.25 now, the ride takes 5-15 minutes, depending on which terminal you start at, and you may wait up to 10 minutes for the train.

  2. Take the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) train from Jamaica station to Grand Central Terminal. The ride takes 19 minutes, and you may wait up to 15 minutes for the train, or even longer at night. The subwy-LIRR transfer in Jamaica is very fast. The fare varies depending on time of day: morning peak is the most expensive at $12.50, at other times you should get a CityTicket for $5.

  3. Take the MetroNorth train from Grand Central terminal to Yonkers (YNY). The ride takes 33 minutes, and you may wait up to 30 minutes for the train, or even longer at night. The fare is $11.50 during afternon rush hours, cheaper at other times. The LIRR-MetroNorth transfer in GCT involves a long ride up an esclator and can take 10+ minutes.

Once you're in Yonkers, there are several local bus lines, or you can take a taxi.

You can see schedules for both the LIRR and the MetroNorth on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's web site: https://new.mta.info/schedules .

As you can see, 3 hours is too pessimistic.

Alternatively, in step 2 you can take the LIRR to NY Penn Station (NYP), rather than to Grand Central Terminal, which takes the same 19 minutes, and in step 3 take Amtrak from NYP to YNY, rather than MetroNorth, which takes 25-30 minutes. The LIRR-Amtrak transfer in NYP is much easier than the LIRR-Metronorth transfer in GCT. The main disadvantage is that Amtrak trains leave less than once per hour. You'd need to look at the Amtrak schedule and fares on http://amtrak.com to see whether a train leaves at a convenient time. Amtrak fares vary, I saw $17 when I looked.

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Have you considered a different airport? If you are flying internationally, EWR (Newark) is considerably more convenient and the flights are typically cheaper. If you are flying domestically, there is Westchester County Airport (HPN).

Another alternative is eschewing public transportation. Uber Pool would be $80. You can also rent a car for as little as $20 a day, if that is appropriate to your needs.

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    Is getting from EWR to Yonkers particularly easier than from JFK? I wouldn't guess so, myself - the obvious rail connections still need a transfer between Penn Station and Grand Central. HPN is closer but I would guess there are fewer public transit options. Nov 14, 2016 at 2:01
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    "You can also rent a car for as little as $20 a day": not in New York City.
    – phoog
    Nov 22, 2022 at 23:30
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    @NateEldredge +1, EWR to Yonkers is 1h 48m as per Google Maps vs 1h 41m from JFK if you don't use LIRR.
    – JonathanReez
    Mar 1, 2023 at 16:12
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If you are up to some car-free commuting, bicycle.

It is possible to reach the LGA airport by bicycle from the Yonkers, therefore from there you can go further to get close to the JFK airport, but you are likely to be bound to leave your bicycle by the car rental parks and then take the shuttle.

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    It's easiest to load up the bicycle if you only have one small piece of baggage with you (e.g. just a backpack). However, some bicycles have reasonable cargo capacity, and can perhaps carry a large duffel bag. Mar 1, 2023 at 15:59
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    If you're in a hurry, you can use an e-bike; this is even faster and easier to pedal than a mechanical bicycle. Mar 1, 2023 at 15:59

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