We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

M5 Bus or a Bus Tour to get bearings?

Which New York City hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Harrogate, United...
posts: 18
M5 Bus or a Bus Tour to get bearings?

Heading to NYC next week for 1st time. Family of 6 with kids b/w 9 & 15 yo. We are staying Upper West Side.

Looking at the bus map the M5 seems to pass near us and goes right to tip of Manhatten - is that a decent way is seeing several sights, and how long is it likely to take from around W 79th down to Battery Park on a weekend morning (I expect we will be up early)

I read about Metrocards that for 6 of us we load up a couple as can swipe for up to 4 people. Does that work for buses as well as Metro?

If M5 bus is not a good plan, do any tour buses go by 9am from Upper West Side?

24 replies to this topic
Delaware
posts: 321
reviews: 22
1. Re: M5 Bus or a Bus Tour to get bearings?

I don't have an answer, but will be anxious to see what others say about your plan. I once took the bus downtown as far as I could go right after 9/11, heading towards the WTC site. It was a very quiet ride and there was something moving about it to me.

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Skopelos
posts: 29,806
reviews: 33
2. Re: M5 Bus or a Bus Tour to get bearings?

Hey Northtim:-) The M5 bus is a great run.. down Riverside Drive to 72nd Street where it heads to Broadway passing Lincoln Center and Columbus Circle.. crossing Central Park South for the the run down 5th Avenue.. passing everything from Tiffany's to Rock Center to Empire State building.. Eataly.. all the way down to tip of Manhattan;-) If you grab it early enough.. by 6a, should take about an hour or so for the full run down on the Express (there is also a local that would take way longer).. once you hit rush hour after about 7-7:30a, can can twice as long;-) EnJOY!

Saint Louis...
posts: 6,482
reviews: 27
3. Re: M5 Bus or a Bus Tour to get bearings?

For how long will you be in NYC? If it's about four days or more you're probably much better off with weekly unlimited Metrocards for each of you. NYC gives children free rides, but it's by height, not by age. If they're over 44 inches tall they pay full fare.

NYC / Fire Island...
posts: 4,754
4. Re: M5 Bus or a Bus Tour to get bearings?

Hola.

We walk a lot and take the subways and public busses to get around, but we still like the commercial “Hop-on Hop-off” double decker busses and (even though we have lived here in NYC for 40+ years) once or twice a year buy a pass and “do” the City as paying tourists. We started doing this years ago due to one of our friends becoming a tour guide/narrator for one of the “Hop-on Hop-off” operators following his retirement as a teacher (a linguist). He died some years back, and fondly remember him “singing” (great voice) to the tourists and us atop the open-air busses.

Even since then, we still enjoy the rides by the operators; the biggest difference is not which operator you choose, rather it is the guide/narrator that you happen to get, and whether he/she is engaging or knowledgeable. There are times when we hop-off one bus and hop-on another (but same operator) so that we have a different guide/narrator.

We think that the rides are fun and a great venue in which to meet visitors from around the planet. A 2-day pass is generally enough to do all of the loops....and we really like the "night loop".

Hope this helps. Your questions are always welcome.

Abrazos,

Matt

Casa Hoffa (South), Bahia Chahue, Huatulco, MX

Casa Hoffa (North), Fire Island, NY USA

Melbourne
Destination Expert
for New York City
posts: 3,934
reviews: 23
5. Re: M5 Bus or a Bus Tour to get bearings?

Oh a favourite topic...NYC Buses and especially the M5...

Yes to the M5 heading SOUTH

When I went DOWNTOWN I caught the M20 bus back...but I got off ~58th and I note it doesn't go as far as you need...but you could swap and you could see the amazing main Post Office building. (There were school children on it when I got on downtown and it was interesting to see them use the public bus as their school bus..the driver knew them all and they'd all got off by ~20th from memory)

Here's what we did heading NORTH...

The M4 goes all the way to Fort Tyron Park (the northern tip of Manhattan). From the UWS you could go on the M5 as far as ~179th Street and swap to the M4. The bus is great. Slow but fascinating route. And the Park itself has more fab views. And the Cloisters too!

http://web.mta.info/nyct/maps/manbus.pdf

We caught the M4 from 59th and Madison and went all the way... 1 hour 20 mins. Then we caught a combo of the A train and the 1 train back down as far as Morningside Drive..part of one of these is overhead and you can sing the song on the A train...

http://www.mta.info/nyct/maps/subwaymap.pdf

We then enjoyed lunch at the Hungarian Pastry Shop (thanks Litsa), and a walk and lots of sights (St John the Divine, Columbus Uni, wonderful architecture, Riverside Drive and Grant's Tomb - thanks Frangipani). Then we stumbled on the M5 bus and went on that as far as Columbus Circle. It was a great sightseeing day.

I don't know about the swiping of the metrocards for multiple people on the buses (but I can't see why that wonderful option wouldn't apply).

Edited: 7:44 pm, July 25, 2013
NYC / Fire Island...
posts: 4,754
6. Re: M5 Bus or a Bus Tour to get bearings?

To be clear, (most) NYC bus drivers do not provide narratives with regard to the sights and sites on the routes.

CH

Melbourne
Destination Expert
for New York City
posts: 3,934
reviews: 23
7. Re: M5 Bus or a Bus Tour to get bearings?

but if get on the Q32 you might be lucky enough to get the singing bus driver...and you can sing THAT song when you're going across the bridge....

NYC / Fire Island...
posts: 4,754
8. Re: M5 Bus or a Bus Tour to get bearings?

".....singing bus driver..."

Good luck. :-))))

CH

Melbourne
Destination Expert
for New York City
posts: 3,934
reviews: 23
9. Re: M5 Bus or a Bus Tour to get bearings?

I've got a photo of him Matt! It was so much fun..he had a great voice.

Saint Louis...
posts: 6,482
reviews: 27
10. Re: M5 Bus or a Bus Tour to get bearings?

You dip Metrocards on the buses rather than swiping them, but otherwise they work the same as on the subway. You can dip for multiple fares. If you're transferring from the subway the card remembers how many people used it on the subway and, as long as you're within two hours, will not charge you another set of fares when you get on the bus.

Reply to: M5 Bus or a Bus Tour to get bearings?
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted