This is a very useful and...more importantly...FREE service which will take you from New Haven's Unions station (Amtrak and MetroNorth) to various places within downtown New Haven.
The buses are quite small but have adequate space for bags. My driver was very pleasant and I'm sure that if you needed to know where to get off for e.g. a hotel he or she would guide you. I knew where i was getting off, so it was very easy...and the plan a the bus stop opposite the station entrance helps as well.
The shuttle runs every 20 minutes from 0605 until 2215 on weekdays only (for commuters, I assume).
On my second visit I decided to ignore the Amtrak service (Penn station in NYC is not a pleasant place) and take MetroNorth to New Haven from Grand Central station.
This is certainly a better option than the Amtrak trains, because there are far more frequent departures (it's a commuter service) and the fare is cheaper.
MetroNorth trains arrive at New Haven Union station just like the Amtrak trains. They are clean, comfortable and air-conditioned with sufficient space for some baggage: overhead racks or a large space underneath the seat. My train wasn't very full (I imagine trains at commuter hours are packed) and my case fitted nicely under the seat in front of me.
The journey was quite interesting, giving glimpses of Harlem and various other small stations on the way. It takes around 2 hours.
There is no need (or way) to buy your ticket in advance online. Just go to the ticket offices within Grand Central: they are clearly signed.
And the platforms are clearly signed too, although I found it odd that people were queueing at the platform entrance. When I asked why, they said 'We're waiting for the train doors to open'. I wondered why they didn't just stand on the platform for the train doors to open? It wasn't much hotter on the platform than in the concourse. But there we go....
You can find train times and fares on the MetroNorth website link below.
It is very easy to take the train to New Haven from either city.
Amtrak (www.amtrak.com) runs regular trains up the north-east corridor, from NY to Boston. These leave from Penn Station in NY and South Station in Boston.
I really enjoyed my train trip from NY. Although the scenery between NY and NH is not beautiful it does hold interest for the overseas visitor for, as with most railway lines, one travels through areas one would normally never see.
The scenery between New Haven and Boston is much more pleasant, with the train running through several pretty coastal areas.
I booked my Amtrak tickets online in advance. It's worth doing this because Amtrak fares can rise according to demand and according to how near your travel date is. You print out an e-ticket with a barcode and scan the barcode at a Quick-Trak ticket kiosk in the station to get the real ticket. Very easy indeed.
To get to New Haven from New York you can also use the Metro North. This is a cheaper option with trains leaving regularly from Grand Central Station. No need to buy these tickets in advance. You'll find times, details and fares on http://www.mta.info/mnr/
New Haven station is airy and spacious and really rather pleasant. There is a regular shuttle bus to downtown (I believe it's free) but plenty of taxis. As it was so very hot I took a taxi: it cost me 6USD in 2011.
I agree that renting a car will give you the best option, as New Haven will not have "big city" public transportation conveniences. The only thing I would add is to make sure you don't drive your rental into NYC. And by the way, I thought NJ was the "armpit of America?"
Tweed Airport is usually overlooked because there is no jet service. It has USAir and now Pan Am and all flights connect through Philadelphia or Baltimore-Washington DC.
I've been there recently to drop people off and it is definitely only a quick 10-15 minutes from downtown New Haven. The parking and getting to the gate is fast and immediate. The main drawback is that the direct flights are limited to those two cities. My last time flying out of Tweed was when they were flying to Chicago.
New Haven is located between New York and Boston.
Interstate 95 coming from New York, take Downtown New Haven Exit 47.
Interstate 91 coming from Boston, take Exit 3 (Trumbull Street Exit)
Route 15 (Wilbur cross/Merritt Parkways), take Exit 61.
If travelling on Route 15 at night, beware of deer crossing. One jumped in front of my car.
The views on the interstate is not very interesting - non-descript.
Scenery along the interstate is non-descript.
Connecticut Limousine goes from various airports like JFK, La Guardia, Bradley and Newark directly to New Haven.
Comfortable smooth ride right to your door step.
Check the website for schedule and fare.
Took the Greyhound bus a few times from Boston to New Haven.
Also from New York to New Haven.
The Greyhound Bus station is at 50 Union Avenue and adjacent to the Union Station for easy rail access.
New Haven is served by 3 major highways
CT 15, I-91, and I-95. As well as many seconday highways (CT-10, 63, 69, 34, 17, 103, 122, 243, 80, and 337) (US- 1, and 5).
Major Highways throughout the the state are clogged and overcapacity. Many roads are under perpetual construction. Driving in CT requires caution, skill , and patience.
Roads within the city can be busy and some roads should be avoided (esp at night) some of the "less than desirable" areas have high accident rates.
Traffic laws are STRICTLY ENFORCED with an iron fist. Speeding carries heavy fines and too fast may land you in cuffs. Agressive driving will land you with a heavy ticket. Speeding or any violation near a school/work zone will result in double the penalty. Passing a school bus with its lights flashing will cost you $500 per bus. Driving under the influence of anything (even a little) could land you in jail and without a licence.
Please be respectful while driving through my hometown and throughout the state of CT.
New Haven is served by Bus, Rail, and Air
Amtrack and Greyound serve New Haven from all points via rail www.greyhound.com and www.amtrak.com
Tweed-New Haven Airport provides limited commuter flights. Full service airports are located in New York and Hartford (shuttle services available) www.flytweed.com
Metro-North/Shore Line East commuter railways. Cheapest way to travel to/from New York City and points in between. Trains run every 15-60 minutes 365 days a year 7 days a week. Passes/discounts available. Shore Line East provdies commuter service east of New Haven on a limited M-F basis.
New Haven is blessed with a good bus system. CTtransit provides 365 days a year 7 days a week. Standard fare is $1.25 and includes a free transfer to another bus. Monthly passes are available.
Hours of operation vary on each route and day. Service is available from approx 4:30am-2:00am Mon-Sat and from 7am-Midnight on Sundays/Holidays.
All buses spoke out from Downtown New Haven on the green near Yale. Many routes travel outside of New Haven to surrounding towns and major shopping centers.
A brief list of some major shopping destinations and the routes that serve them is below (See CTtransit's homepage for detailed info- www.cttransit.com)
CT Post Mall- Routes PMF, O2, and J7
Target (multpile locations)- Routes O2, C
Walmart (multiple stores)- routes D5, D11, J8, J2, and D4
Supermarkets (multiple stores) (Shaws, Stop & Shop, &/or Shop Rite) Routes O2, D5, D11, J8, J2, and B1-7.
If you're coming from New York, take the Metro-North train from Grand Central Station. Trains leave every hour at 17 minutes past the hour, more frequently during peak times. It's about $12 and at about 100 minutes, not too long a ride. The New Haven train station is not near anything worth seeing, but a $5 ride from one of the many cabs usually waiting at the station will get you pretty much anywhere you want to go.
By Train (from New York City):
Take Metro-North Railroad train from the Grand Central Station in Manhattan to Union Station at New Haven (more trains to State Street station):
$23 round trip
With above website, one can choose a date and time for available trains.
Depends upon where you want to go. Walking probably is the best choice for touring Yale University properties in downtown, especially the historic buildings.
Otherwise one would need to take bus or drive.
Travelling to New Haven from Washington D.C, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Trenton, New York City, Providence, and Boston is best by train (Metro-North or Amtrak). By airline, you will have to land at Bradley Intl. north of Hartford and find a way south. Small aircraft can land at Tweed-New Haven, but larger aircraft cannot. By car, just take I-95 or I-91. Both of these highways meet at New Haven.
New Haven Metro Taxi (phone # 777-7777) is always reliable, but can be expensive. There is no subway system, but busses do run the city streets regularly. There is limited street car service within the immediate city center, near the Green and Yale University.
From New York City, Metro North runs trains every hour during peak commuting time trains runs every 15-20 minutes.
It's a much cheaper and quicker option that Amtrak
Buses - The bus system is just ok, but the connections and times leave a bit to be desired.
Walking - If you only have a few days and are staying downtown, the area can be explored easily on foot.
Taxis - Are average priced but not very clean and usually smell of smoke.