Brooklyn to Newark Int'l on Public Transit, In a Hurry!
March 6, 2009 9:46 AM   Subscribe

I need to get to Newark Int'l Airport from Brooklyn for a 4:55pm flight out on Sunday night. I'm planning to take the subway to NY Penn Station, then NJTransit to the EWR AirTrain station. I've got the relevant schedules, but how much time do I need to allow for walking and buying various tickets along the way?


(1) I'm transiting from the 34th and Penn subway stop to the NJTransit line in Penn Station. I'll have to buy a ticket. If I estimate 20 minutes, am I overestimating or underestimating?

(2) I need to get from the EWR rail station to the terminal via AirTrain. Again, if I estimate 20 minutes, am I overestimating or underestimating?
posted by Alterscape to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
1) You can buy the ticket from a machine. 20 minutes should be more than enough time, even with a line. It will probably be more like 5 minutes.

2) 20 minutes is about right from the EWR to the terminal. Maybe a little less. The walk is short (up an escalator) from the platform to the AirTrain. Then they run every 2 or 3 minutes. It doesn't move very fast, and it stops at a couple of parking garages before hitting the terminals. But ven if you are at the last terminal, 20 minutes should be fine.
posted by kimdog at 10:03 AM on March 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you can, take the A C E to Penn Station. The 1 2 3 get off waaaay on the other side of the station. The A C E drops you off right outside the stairs that go up to the NJ transit open area.

Since you're flying out on Sunday, the lines for the QuikTicket (or whatever they are called) machines should be short if nonexistant. Make sure you buy a ticket to the Airport. This also serves as your Air Train ticket. The conductor will punch hole it and hand it back to you on the train.

When you look at the big board, you'll want the trains that say EWR after the train line. You will either be taking the NE Corridor or the NJ Coastal. The trains going there usually are Track 1, 2, 3 or 4 which is at one end of the big NJ Transit room you are in. This is true during the week, but I am not sure on Sunday.

While boarding the train, sit near a door, preferably one of those 2 seaters so no one will bother you asking to sit next to you. I preferred to keep my luggage next to me because when you are pulling into the train station, people are starting to queue and if I am trying to get my bag from the racks, I will be middle or last to get off.

When you get to the Newark Airport Air Train station, you'll need to find a way up. I don't know how heavy or bulky your luggage is, but if at all possible, skip the escalator and take the stairs. Those few seconds or even a minute can get you to the Air Train gates ahead of everyone else and people fumble with tickets right in front of an open gate a lot. Plus you have to play dodge luggage.

When you get to the gates, you should be carrying your luggage in your left hand and holding your Air Train ticket in your right hand with the magnetic strip up and the arrow pointing towards the waist level high slot you are about to insert it into. Now you have to go to the end of the hall, past a glass door, and down a flight of stairs on the right hand side. Again, take the stairs.

If there is an Air Train there, the escalator only has room for one person and a piece of luggage next to them. They cannot move fast enough to catch the train.

If there is not an Air Train there and the sign indicates you have a few minutes, check which side the train is going to arrive (if you are not sure, someone in a red jacket will be standing there and they can help you) and go to the end of the corridor until you reach the last glass door that will open to enter the Air Train. When you get out, you will be the closest to the escalators (that will be going down) at your gate.

BONUS: If you have some spare time, when you get off the down escalator into your gate, there should be 2-3 NJ Transit machines there. Get your return ticket back (which also serves as your Air Train ticket). Please make sure when you are getting your return ticket that you choose NEW YORK Penn Station. There is a Newark Penn Station so make sure you enter the right code.

From the minute you get on the NJ Transit train to EWR Air Train: about 20-30 minutes
From EWR Air Train to Gate: about 15-20 minutes

Good luck!
posted by spec80 at 10:37 AM on March 6, 2009 [4 favorites]

I'd keep that 20 minutes at Penn because even though the tickets are quickly purchased at a machine, finding your track is not always easy because it is not printed on your ticket and the tracks are on different levels. It can take a few minutes just to figure out where your train is.
posted by agentwills at 10:37 AM on March 6, 2009

Oh I forgot...

At the Air Train gates, when you insert your ticket, wait for the gate to open and just book it. You do not need the ticket anymore. I see people make this mistake all the time.

HOWEVER, when you are returning, you want to stay at the gate and wait for your ticket to pop up ahead of you (not the same slot you inserted your ticket into) because you'll need it to give to the conductor on the train back.
posted by spec80 at 10:40 AM on March 6, 2009

My advice is to skip the AirTrain leg of the trip -- fastest thing to do will be to get off the NJTransit train at Newark Penn station and take a cab to the airport. Fare from Newark Penn station to the airport is $20 (including tip), and this way you avoid having to wait for and ride the retarded monorail from the NJtransit EWR station to the terminal. By cab it's only 10 minutes from Newark to the airport, perhaps faster.
posted by ripple at 10:56 AM on March 6, 2009

I'd say your estimations are about right. I might allow a little more time for the airtrain as the last time I took it there was a fault and it actually took 30 minutes, but that's a rarity.
posted by ob at 11:06 AM on March 6, 2009

Best answer: The way you're talking, it sounds like you're looking to time it "just right", so there's very little waiting around at the airport.

As someone who's done this trip from Brooklyn a few times, make sure to leave yourself PLENTY of extra time. From Park Slope to Penn Station, I budget an hour - on Sunday, the trains don't run nearly as often as I'm sure you're aware. I have NEVER made it from Brooklyn's Grand Army Station to Penn Station in less than an hour - including walking and train wait times.

From Penn to Newark, plan on that taking another 30 minutes, plus 30 for getting tickets and waiting around for the track number to be listed (10 minutes before departure). Sometimes there is a line for the machines. And of course, you need to get from the Newark station to EWR. Give yourself another 30 or 40 for that on Airtrain.

If you don't give yourself at least 3 1/2 to 4 hours from door to "door", you're asking for trouble. If I were you, I'd start walking out of the house at 1pm.
posted by plasticbugs at 2:39 PM on March 6, 2009

The one time I tried to take the subway from Brooklyn to the train to Newark, the trains stopped running and I paid a cabbie a lot of money to basically drive on the side of the highway to get me to the airport on time. So leave with lots and lots of extra time to spare.
posted by Unred at 9:40 PM on March 6, 2009

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