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Everything you need to know about getting around NYC this Christmas

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The holiday will bring myriad changes to New York’s streets, subways, buses, and more


It’s Christmas time and whether you’re planning to stay local or planning to get out of town for the holiday, one thing is for certain: commutes are definitely going to be more hectic than normal.

The city’s subway, bus, commuter rail, and the likes will all have schedule changes in effect on Christmas day, and some, in the days leading up to it. This time of year is undoubtedly one of the busiest and today, as well as Friday, December 21, has beed declared one of the city’s gridlock alert days, when traffic is expected to be at its worst.

If you planning on staying home for the holiday, you may be lucky enough to experience very little disruption, but for everyone else, here’s what you need to know.

NYC subway

According the the MTA, trains will be operating on special schedules between Friday, December 21 and Christmas Day.

On Christmas Day, subways will operate on a Sunday schedule. There will be no express service on the 6 and 7 lines. B trains will not run, but customers are encouraged to use the A, C, D and/or Q instead. The MTA’s website will have all the information you need regarding service changes, and you can also use TripPlanner+ or the MYmta app. There’s also the Weekender guide, which has details on how service will be affected this weekend.

NYC buses

On Christmas day, New York City buses will operate on a Sunday schedule. Keep in mind that there are many routes that either do not operate on a Sunday or do not run on part of the route at certain hours. The recommends checking MTA Bus Time or the MYmta smartphone app to track real-time bus positions and gauge arrival times.

Metro-North and LIRR

The Long Island Rail Road will run a regular weekday schedule on Friday, with 13 additional trains departing Penn Station between 12:46 p.m. and 3:48 p.m. It will adhere to its weekend schedule for Saturday and Sunday, and follow a regular weekday schedule on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, the LIRR will operate on a regular weekend/holiday schedule.

As for the Metro-North, service will follow a regular weekday schedule with 18 additional early getaway trains departing Grand Central Terminal between 12:58 p.m. and 4:11 p.m. Since lower ridership is anticipated after 5 p.m., there will be reduced service in the evening on Friday. Metro-North’s East of Hudson service will operate a regular Saturday schedule supplemented with additional service on Christmas Eve, and on Christmas day, service will follow a special holiday schedule.

New Jersey Transit

There will be plenty of changes to NJT buses and train service on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so it’s best to check out their website to see if your route is affected.


PATH trains will operate on a Saturday schedule on Christmas day. There aren’t too many other details available, but the PATH Twitter account is a good place to check for updates.


The days leading up to Christmas, and even Christmas Day, is one of the most hectic times of the year to travel. If you have a flight to catch at LaGuardia or JFK airport, your best bet is to arrive earlier than you think you need to, utilize public transportation, and keep an eye on LGA and JFK’s twitter pages for updates. The National Weather Service is forecasting gusty winds and heavy rain on Friday, as well as flood advisories in some areas, so you might want to check with your airline to see if your flight is impacted.

You can also check out the wait times at different security gates at NYC’s various airports through the TSA app.

NYC Ferry

On Christmas Eve, the NYC Ferry will operate on a weekday schedule and on Christmas Day, service will operate on a weekend schedule.

Street closures

There aren’t too many street closures to worry about, since there’s no major parades happening, however, it would be good to check with the DOT’s weekend and weekly traffic advisories for any potential street closures or service changes. The city’s official street closures map can be found here.