Super Shuttle from Newark Airport, New York City
I am not sure how I feel about the Super Shuttle. We flew into Newark and had bought vouchers for to and from New York through Orbitz so it was already paid for. If that had not been the case, I doubt that I would have gone back to the airport with this company. The first ride, to the hotel, took over two hours and I really thought we were going to lose our suitcases out the back. The door was broken and the driver ingeniously tied it together with a red and white long sleeved tee shirt. (see picture if you don't believe me!) Very Christmasy, yes? Every time we went over a bump, the doors banged open and shut. The driver packed the shuttle with riders and baggage before he would leave the airport and then took us on a very wild ride through New Jersey and New York.
The ride back took almost 3 hours, again because of the need to fill up the shuttle. We were first to be picked up so we had another scary ride around the city. This driver, in particular, was extremely irritable when he drove, cutting off other drivers and then yelling at them. I thought we were going to die. One of the riders complained to him about his driving and then failed to tip him. He yelled at her all the way into the terminal.
The good thing about the shuttle is meeting other travelers. They were all very entertaining. And I must also say that these shuttles are franchises so each one is only as good as its owner...they just did not put their best foot forward on my trip.
Since I had no idea how much a taxi ride would cost to get to our hotel from La Guardia airport, we decided to play it safe and book a shuttle ticket. The price was $14 per person, so when we later found out that a taxi would have taken us to our hotel for $30, we were NOT impressed! Not only did we have to wait about 40 minutes for the shuttle to pick us up (which is about the time it would have taken to get to our hotel), we then had to make several stops to drop off other passengers who were staying in completely different areas. In the end, it took us about 3h to make it to our hotel, which is more than twice the time it took us to fly down to New York City! Our driver didn't say a word to us during the entire a trip, so at least we didn't feel compelled to leave a tip, despite the rather prominent sign indicating that gratuities were accepted.
One of the many options for travel from Newark Airport to the city centre is by shuttle. Several companies provide this service, all of which seem to charge the same and offer the same. We looked carefully at prices and decided that this option would be a good compromise between cost and convenience. On the convenience side, the shuttle takes you right to the door of your hotel, so no need to battle trains and subways with all your luggage, but because you share with others you may go via other hotels (we stopped at two before reaching our own) which means it’s slower than taking a cab. As for cost, at $19 per person it’s just $4 more than the $15 to go by train, and to the latter we would have needed to add the couple of dollars to get from Penn Station to a subway stop near our hotel, so there’s not a lot in it. Convenience naturally won that argument!
To get the shuttle from the airport to your hotel, follow the signs to the Ground Transportation Desk. There you tell the desk clerk which company you want to use and (s)he’ll reserve it for you. As I said, I could see no difference between the companies, and the clerk isn’t allowed to recommend one over another, so I chose the one with the nicest flyer! You’re then given a ticket which you take to another desk by the exit, where you wait till your name is called by a driver – we waited about 10 minutes. Follow your driver to the mini-bus, board and enjoy the c.45 minute drive to the city (with some great views of it en route). Depending on where you and the other travellers are staying you may also find yourself driving round the city a bit before arriving at your hotel – in our case that added a further 10 minutes to the journey time but we were happy to savour our first taste of New York street scenes for over 20 years. You pay your driver on arrival at your destination, so make sure you have some US dollars with you.
To use the shuttle to return to the airport you must book ahead (naturally, as the driver needs to know to pick you up). We called the free-phone number provided from our hotel a couple of days ahead and were picked up only five minutes later than we’d requested – not bad considering the city traffic. Again, we had to drive via two other hotels, and at the first of these the other passengers kept us and the driver waiting more than ten minutes as they messed around with their bags and checked out (which they should of course have done in advance) – so do make sure you allow enough time if you have a plane to catch. With that one proviso, I would certainly recommend this as a good option for your transfer and well worth the extra dollars.
With so many choices it could be confusing. When traveling I normally arrange for the hotel to send a car or take a cab. After all after having to deal with flying, who needs any more headaches that day? ;-)
Since using a driver or cab would have cost close to $60, and the shuttles were only $15 to $16 and I was a bit early for check in I chose to try out Super Shuttle. After all they are well known.
The price was great, the van was clean, the driver was polite and it did get me to the hotel.
HOWEVER there were some down sides to this trip.... 11 people packed in the van, 5 stops before they got to my hotel, and no air conditioning! Riding in a hot van for over 2 hours (LGA to downtown) didn't leave the best impression. On the other hand I did get to see a lot on this unplanned little tour of the city, and it was cheap!
One other down side, they dump you off on the street. Be ready to have to man handle your own bag up the curb and to where ever your hotel door is.
If your flight taxes in on time - at 8:30PM you noted - you should be physically out of the airport terminal in less than an hour's time and be on your way to the city center. No need to get nervous about your trip into Manhattan proper and arriving in the PM, you have several options in your transport to city proper. If you can catch the Airport Shuttle, take that which will deposit you directly and safety at your hotel. Taking the private bus shuttle is also a good option and equally safe and economical as the Airport Shuttle, however, the bus can only take you as far as its last stop - the Port Authority. Still, this isn't really bad, considering your hotel is only four blocks away - it really is an easy footwork granted you have only light luggage with you, otherwise, you can hop on a cab from Port Authority for the very short ride. Yes, taking the taxi from the airport should be your last resort, only because I consider it terribly expensive, but not unsafe as you fear. Just to calm you down about New York streets in general: they're well lit and nowadays even more crowded with mostly tourists in all hours of night and generally safe....even safer than most cities devoid of true stature as the Big Apple. Welcome to New York and have a blast.
I've read many reveiws on VT on how bad the shuttle experience is in New York City, especially Super Shuttle. I can only comment on my own experience, but let me just say that it was smooth and easy! We called the Shuttle upon arriving at Newark airport and within 15 minutes they were there and loading us up. There were several other people also heading to New York, so the ride took about an hour (it was also 6pm and the traffic was awful). The cost was affordable and the ride was pleasant. I highly recommend them when first arriving to the city if you don't want to mess with a cab or public transportation.
Super Shuttle does business in many of America's large metropolitan areas, specializing in airport transport.
Providing airport to hotel-door service for one quarter the cost of a cab or limo is Super Shuttle's forte. Doing so in a consistently efficient and pleasant manner may not always be part of the deal. I guess a lot depends on how much you'd like to spend extra money for an airport ride. :)
If you're arriving AT any NYC airport, look for the blue and yellow Super Shuttle vans in the airport shuttle areas of ground transportation. You can usually buy your ticket either from the driver, or from a little stand right at ground transportation. BE SURE to pick the van going to YOUR part of the city.....ie, is your hotel in midtown, downtown, etc. ASK. You can get a reservation for transportation IN ADVANCE by calling 1-212-258-3826 (1-202-BLUEVAN), but it's not necessary....and you'll still be waiting until whatever the van driver has decided is the best communal departure time for you AND THE OTHER passengers. : )
To go TO any airport in NYC, call in advance and get a pickup reservation. LIE to them about when you need to be at the airport. If your flight is at 3:00 pm, say 1:30 pm. Super Shuttle's computers suggest times for pickup that REALLY cut things short. If you're not from NYC, don't always assume the Shuttle guys are going to safely get you to the airport in time if you let THEM pick the appropriate pickup time. And besides, they're consistently 15-30 minutes late on pickups, because they have a nasty habit of promising 6 different parties at 6 different hotels that they'll pick them up at the same time. See the metaphysical problem there??
But, for semi-reliable and cheap airport-NYC-airport transport, Super Shuttle's usually a semi-safe choice. The cost??? Usually about $15 per person one way from JFK or LGA to midtown. Other destinations similar....I'm not sure about Newark airport prices, but it's bound to be less than a cab or limo, if you've got a cheapskate boss. Just kidding, Fred.
The best way to arrive in New York is by plane. we flew to JFK from England with British Airways and thenm got a return shuttle bus ito the hotel for $46 us dollars.
The metro is quite safe in manhattan, also buses and of course the yellow cabs.