Free MTA Bus Rides Are Ending. Here Are Other Free And Low-Cost Alternatives.

You’ll have to start paying for MTA bus rides again starting August 31, the agency announced this week. To protect drivers during the pandemic, the front doors of the buses have been off limits for months. But, with infection rates low, the doors are reopening at the end of the month, which means fare collection can resume. 

If you have become used to the free rides, how else can you get around the neighborhood? Here’s a rundown of some free and low-cost alternatives. 

The Downtown Connection Bus

The Downtown Alliance’s free circulator bus that goes around the tip of Manhattan is still running 10a–7:30p daily, though at 50 percent capacity. The bus has 36 stops around Lower Manhattan, including a Warren/Murray Street loop. See the full route map and its stops.


This part of Manhattan island is blessed with some really nice and scenic bike lanes that beat a stuffy bus any day. Check out our guide to biking in Lower Manhattan

Citi Bike

Citi Bike stations are nearly everywhere in Manhattan these days, and there are about two-dozen stations in Lower Manhattan alone, including several around The Battery and along the waterfront. A single ride is just $3. See the full list of stations

The NYC Ferry

The ferry service is not so good for getting around the neighborhood per se, but it is a pleasant way to travel to other parts of the city, all while sitting in the safety of an open-air boat. The ferries that leave from Wall Street can take you all the way down to Bay Ridge, up to the Upper East Side or over to Dumbo and Williamsburg. A ticket costs the same as a single subway or bus ride. See the full map of routes to plan a breezy commute.

photo: iStock