Toronto New Haven
September 15, 2010 6:42 AM   Subscribe

Yale research trip - from Toronto

What's the best way to get to/from Toronto to/from New Haven? I was thinking of flying with porter to Newark, and then taking the Amtrak from Newark to New Haven. Is this recommended, or am I missing something? "Best" can be defined by best value, fastest, least expensive, most reliable (is Amtrak as late as often as VIA? Because VIA is often late, and I don't want to miss flights) and/or smallest number of transfers.

Let's assume that I don't have a car.

I'd also accept recommendations of non-sketchy hotels to stay in close to the university!
posted by monkeymonkey to Travel & Transportation (26 answers total)
 
Newark to New Haven via Amtrak is OK.

Another alternative would be: Toronto --> Newark --> cab to Grand Central --> Metro North train to New Haven.

A lot of this depends on the time of day that you're flying into Newark.

I don't know what VIA is.
posted by dfriedman at 6:45 AM on September 15, 2010


This is Via.
posted by the dief at 6:50 AM on September 15, 2010


Best answer: Amtrak and Metro North (the commuter rail) are both decent options. Both are reliable, i.e. a 20 minute delay is unusual.

Metro North would be much cheaper (like 25% of Amtrak), but you would need to make a more complicated connection in Manhattan since the NJ trains come into a different station than the CT ones. Metro North also has half-hour or hourly trains, while Amtrak is not nearly as frequent. If you do take Amtrak, make sure you pick a train that doesn't have the one-hour train switch connection in Penn Station.
posted by smackfu at 6:58 AM on September 15, 2010


Response by poster: Thanks for the input, all -- I'd never heard of Metro North before.

Would the connection in Manhattan be easier if I was using a different New York airport?
posted by monkeymonkey at 7:04 AM on September 15, 2010


Response by poster: Also, is there any reason to consider flying into a different city entirely? Like, say, Boston? Forgive the one who doesn't know her American East Coast geography, please.
posted by monkeymonkey at 7:06 AM on September 15, 2010


Would the connection in Manhattan be easier if I was using a different New York airport?

Again, this depends in part on the time of day you plan to fly into the New York area.

The other major airports are JFK and LaGuardia. LaGuardia is closer to Manhattan (and hence Grand Central Station, and so Metro-North) than is JFK. LaGuardia is in Queens, JFK is in Brooklyn.
posted by dfriedman at 7:07 AM on September 15, 2010


If you were to fly into Boston, you could take the Amtrak train from Back Bay Station to New Haven. You would have to take a cab from Logan Airport (Boston's main airport) to Back Bay Station, and pick up the train from there.
posted by dfriedman at 7:08 AM on September 15, 2010


Best answer: Amtrak Newark-New Haven will run you at least $120 round trip, I believe. You might as well fly straight from Toronto to Tweed-New Haven, which is a quick cab ride away from Yale. This flight, which stops in Philly, is $341 round trip.

Best hotel next to Yale is the Study (brand new, boutique, around the corner from the arts & architecture hub of campus). Other close hotels are the Omni and the Courtyard by Marriott. The Omni is in the heart of downtown (two blocks from campus) while the Courtyard is in a less fun part of town (but still maybe three blocks away from campus). Walking to the Courtyard late at night could potentially be sketchy, but not very.

I'll also happily recommend restaurants, coffee shops, or areas of interest on campus if you let me know what your interests are!
posted by acidic at 7:09 AM on September 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would fly into LaGuardia, then take the NY Airport Service Express shuttle for $12--it goes right to Grand Central and leaves frequently (here's a schedule). Then you can get the Metro North at Grand Central.

(And to correct dfriedman above, JFK is in Queens, not Brooklyn.)
posted by neroli at 7:20 AM on September 15, 2010


I agree that the NY Airport Service Express shuttle + Metro North is a good way to go from a New York airport, but it takes a really long time-- an hour on the bus, plus 2+ hours on the train. There's also CT Limo, which is a shuttle that goes straight from New York airports to the front gates of Yale. I think it costs around $40. Nice to bypass Manhattan.
posted by acidic at 7:33 AM on September 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Response by poster: acidic, thank you, I might take you up on your areas of interest offer -- my travel period is in early december so I might ask you closer to the time. Amtrak from Newark to New Haven, at the dates/times I'm looking at in early December, is only $60, so for convenience's sake it might be worth the extra ~$20 or so, I think.

dfriedman, the time of day of travel is still to be worked out. I haven't bought flights yet. smackfu mentioned that NJ trains use a different terminal from CT trains; I suppose I should've asked if any CT trains use the same terminal as trains to/from the other airports.
posted by monkeymonkey at 7:41 AM on September 15, 2010


dfriedman: "If you were to fly into Boston, you could take the Amtrak train from Back Bay Station to New Haven. You would have to take a cab from Logan Airport (Boston's main airport) to Back Bay Station, and pick up the train from there"

There is no reason not to take the Silverline from the airport to South Station in this case.
posted by mkb at 7:44 AM on September 15, 2010


There are also nonstops from YYZ to BDL (Bradley, in Hartford, CT). A little closer to New Haven than LGA, but fewer transit options when you're on the ground. Look into CT limo and other bus/limo services; I don't have one in particular to recommend, I've been disappointed with CTLimo the last year however.

If it were me, I'd fly into BDL and rent a car. If renting's not an option, I'd do either LGA or BDL and get an (arranged in advance) car service. If you don't want to spring for that, I'd do LGA, M60 bus to 125th St, and Metronorth to New Haven (there might be a better way to do it via public transit, but that's what I'm familiar with).
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 7:46 AM on September 15, 2010


From LaGuardia, you can also take the M60 express bus right to the Metro North stop at 125th St. in Harlem. Much cheaper than the shuttle!
posted by farawayfrom at 7:49 AM on September 15, 2010


TPAA beat me to it! I'm not sure about renting a car—you definitely don't need one to get around New Haven. But it would let you to find a much cheaper hotel outside of town.
posted by farawayfrom at 7:53 AM on September 15, 2010


Don't wait too long to decide -those cheap Porter flights from the island airport get much more expensive to book as it gets closer to the departure date. Also, a friend was complaining to me that check-in/security clearance/customs was agonizingly slow when he flew to Newark (he had hoped it would be a lot more convenient than flying from Pearson)
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:59 AM on September 15, 2010


Depends what your threshold for "sketchy" is, but I spent my Yale research week staying at the Hotel Duncan. The place is undeniably shabby and it gets some bad reviews online, but I was satisfied with my stay there. It cost me $50/night a few years ago and the place is about two blocks from the Beinecke, one block from the Sterling library, and within easy reach of inexpensive, studenty eats (try Claire's Corner Copia). The place has barely been updated since the 1940s and if the elevator operator isn't there, you might have to trudge up two or three flights to your room. When you go out, you give your room key to the guy behind the desk and he stashes it in a wooden cubbyhole. No internet access in the room, when I was there. Overall I found the throwback qualities of the hotel charming rather than off-putting, and my room was clean and habitable.
posted by Orinda at 8:43 AM on September 15, 2010


If you ride the CT Limo, note that they have a discount for Yale students. I don't know if you have a Yale student ID (they don't always check, especially around normal travel times for students like winter break, but might if you don't look the right age / are traveling at an unusual time), but if you click the Yale link on their site it should take you to those fares. It's about half the price, and goes straight to the campus ("Phelps Gate" on their destination selection is the front gate of campus).

The courtyard Mariott isn't that far from campus either, just a few blocks, and I never considered it to be in an unsafe area (although a little bit further down you start having to pay attention to your surroundings).

If you fly into Tweed, be aware that there have been cases of the airlines cancelling the last or second-to-last flight because it's not full enough, and you can lose your checked luggage for a few days, arrive the next day instead, etc. which might be very unpleasant.

Also Nth-ing Metro North if you decide to go by train. They're not as famous as Amtrak so many students not from the area don't know they exist, but it's so, so much cheaper!
posted by Lady Li at 8:55 AM on September 15, 2010


To be honest, the most unreliable choice is CT Limo. They pad their timetable by hours because they have to account for traffic and many completely mysterious delays at every stop. It's not so bad when you're going from the airport, but going back it's not fun.
posted by smackfu at 9:56 AM on September 15, 2010


How many bags are you expecting to have?

If the answer is close to zero, you could take a flight to NYC (JFK) and then take the many-transfers route to Grand Central Terminal to the New Haven bound MetroNorths.

If the answer is 'a bunch,' fly to Bradley in Hartford, take CTLimo bus service $94 R/T to Yale without an ID (it's cheaper with). A note on stops: Phelps Gate is main (old) campus, but there's also a Med School stop. Use either of those as it fits. You don't want Science Hill or the plain New Haven stop.

If the answer is 'one and a laptop bag/purse', going only via train is probably OK, although I don't know how reliable it is north of NYC. NYC to New Haven is a major commuter route, so it's in pretty good shape. MetroNorth is the commuter rail and the New Haven line starts at Grand Central Terminal, not Penn Station, so be aware of that if you do decide to try to take it.
posted by cobaltnine at 10:19 AM on September 15, 2010


Response by poster: Thanks everyone for the advice. I'm going porter (newark) + amtrak in and new haven -> philly -> YYZ home. The Amtrak ticket was cheeeeeap so I figured I'd save time over money in this round.

I looked into renting a car but given the amount of time I'll be at yale (a week) and the amount of driving I'd need to do (very little), it didn't seem like good value.

Many thanks for the help!
posted by monkeymonkey at 1:50 PM on September 15, 2010


Keep in mind that you'll be clearing U.S. customs in Newark, and will need to purchase an AirTrain ticket in order to get to the platform at EWR (which is not in the same place as Newark Penn Station). Both of these will take some time.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:09 PM on September 15, 2010


Also, a friend was complaining to me that check-in/security clearance/customs was agonizingly slow when he flew to Newark (he had hoped it would be a lot more convenient than flying from Pearson)

I can confirm this - I flew to New York last weekend with Porter, and Newark was a @#$%^ gong show. Also, my flight to NY from Toronto Island was delayed by 45 mins, and the flight from Newark to Toronto delayed by 2 hours. I have no idea how normal this is for Porter and/or Newark (Porter seemed to be blaming Newark for both delays), but if you have a connection to make it might be something to be wary of.
posted by iona at 4:37 PM on September 15, 2010


Response by poster: OMDTLP - I don't understand. The Amtrak from Newark Airport isn't at Newark Airport?

And, yes, Newark customs are a gong show. I'm giving myself, I think, three hours to get on the train.
posted by monkeymonkey at 4:52 PM on September 15, 2010


The Amtrak from Newark Airport isn't at Newark Airport?

As long as your ticket says it's from EWR and not Newark Penn, you should be fine, but the monorail from the terminal to the train platform will still cost $5.50. (You will probably be better off if you buy your AirTrain access ticket before you get on the AirTrain; otherwise, you will be competing with the hordes of people who don't realize they need the ticket until they see the fare gates.)

EWR only gets eight Amtrak trains a day, and a lot of people mix up Newark Penn and EWR when buying tickets (over the years, I've seen probably a hundred people who've done this). I just wanted to make sure you were clear on the difference, because it's a somewhat annoying surprise.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 5:31 PM on September 15, 2010


Response by poster: OMDTLD, that's helpful info, thank you. I wouldn't've guessed I'd have to take a train in order to take a train. It's very good to know in advance!
posted by monkeymonkey at 10:00 PM on September 15, 2010


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