Car rental and transportation questions for Jersey City
May 16, 2011 2:10 PM   Subscribe

Getting from Newark Airport to Jersey City, late night and with kids in tow? Bonus question about car rental (oh, the joy!)

I did see this previous question, but it was asked 5 years ago and I'm assuming some things may have changed? In any event, our situation is a little different: we (two adults, two kids ages 10 and 6) will be flying into Newark Airport next month. We will be arriving around 11:35pm on a Wednesday and would like to spend the night in Jersey City, see a little of NYC the next day (Thursday), and then rent a car to drive to a family reunion on Friday.

This is really two questions: First, what's the best way to get from EWR to Jersey City at ~12:30am Wednesday night/early Thursday morning? Is there easy, fairly direct public transportation at that hour, or are we better off hiring a cab or renting a car?

The second question is about renting a car: we will be driving from Jersey City to the Hudson Valley for this family reunion. Since we want to spend Thursday in NYC, and since NYC is easily accessible from Jersey City via PATH and/or ferry, it seems silly to rent a car Wednesday night only to have it sit in a motel parking lot for 36 hours. It seems like it makes more sense to get ourselves to Jersey City Wednesday night and then rent a car locally Friday morning. Except that I've heard (variously) that it's hard to rent a car locally, hard to rent a car away from the airport, and even hard to rent a car from the airport unless your flight has just landed. Any insight here? I'm all for saving some money when it's possible but we can afford to rent a car when we arrive if it's the best option. I just need some guidance as to what our real options are so I can figure out which is best.
posted by mosk to Travel & Transportation around Jersey City, NJ (8 answers total)
I cannot answer much of your question, but I can tell you that I stayed in Jersey City a few years ago and took the subway into Manhattan to take a train (from Grand Central) to the Hudson Valley (Beacon to be specific, Could anyone at the reunion pick all of you up at the train station? Because if so you could taxi from Newark to Jersey City and then take trains the rest of the trip.
posted by TishSnave at 3:25 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Your best option, honestly, is probably a cab from the airport. That late at night, the other option - the train from the airport to the Secaucus Transfer to Hoboken, then a cab from Hoboken - is not going to be one. The other option would be something like SuperShuttle, where you can get a van to take you from airport to hotel - and with kids, that might be your best option. You can pre-reserve with them, give them your plane number, and make all the arrangements in advance.

One of the other issues to worry about is that sometimes, at the airports, you can't rent unless you've landed at that airport. You may want to call a rental agency about it, but the question of when you're traveling comes into question (hint: this wednesday you will probably be unable to do it).

Where are you going after your trip and stop in JC? Also, do you have a hotel yet? (If not, I recommend the Hyatt on the JC waterfront, both for the view you get as well as the fact it's right next to the PATH station that goes into Zero.) The question of 'what next' may be the deciding factor on the rental car.
posted by mephron at 3:41 PM on May 16, 2011

Best answer: If I was going back there and making that trip, I'd do an online yellow pages and/or Google search in Jersey City for car services, you can know how much the trip will cost in advance and have someone waiting for you when you arrive. In my experience when I lived there, it was reliably cheaper than yellow cabs and it's pretty nice to know someone will be waiting for you to take you door-to-door.

(I can't remember which company I used to use in Jersey City, I'll see if my wife remembers.)

I've rented cars at Newark airport, no problem, including a couple of last minute (day before) reservations. And there are car rental places all over Jersey City. Depending on the neighborhood in Jersey City, i.e. the Heights, the Enterprise in Hoboken used to even come pick us up.
posted by mullicious at 5:33 PM on May 16, 2011

Best answer: Take a cab. You do have some public transit options, all of which involve transfers that can be multi hour and unsafe after 10 PM. I live in JC, and fly a lot, so this is fairly exhaustive:

Option 1:
take the "air train" monorail from your terminal to the EWR NJT/Amtrak train station.
take a train to Newark Penn.
transfer to the PATH train, ride PATH to Jersey City (stops are Journal Square, Grove St, Exchange Place. Which one you get out at depends on your hotel location)

Option 2:
take the "air train" monorail from your terminal to the EWR NJT/Amtrak train station.
take a train to Newark Penn. Stay on train. Ride into NY Penn station, which is Manhattan.
Walk two blocks to 33rd St PATH train.
transfer to the PATH train, ride PATH to Jersey City (check the PATH website, there are two PATH lines that leave 33rd St, which one you want depends on your final JC destination). Or ride to Hoboken, take the Hudson Bergen light rail or a cab.

Option 3:
take the "air train" monorail from your terminal to the EWR NJT/Amtrak train station. Stay on train through Newark Penn.
Transfer from train at Seacaucus Junction and switch to Hoboken train.
Depending on final destination in Jersey City, ride the Hudson/Bergen light rail or PATH train from Hoboken to your destination. Or catch a cab in Hoboken or walk.

Option 4:
take one of the $15 buses from Newark into Manhattan. It will take you to Port Authority/New York City Penn station. Walk to 33rd St PATH train, take PATH to Hoboken or Jersey City

Seriously, late at night, there is not much traffic - given 4 people, I would take a cab. It should barely be 20 minutes and you can pay by credit card.

Also, once you're here, getting to Manhattan by PATH is very easy. I also love taking the ferry, which you can pick up at Newport, Hoboken, or Paulus Hook, and is about $6/pp one way. Trust me, it's a $6 well spent because the view is amazing. :)

PATH website:

NJT: NJ Transit

Finally- car rental! There are a few Hertz, etc, locations around Jersey City very close to light rail stops or PATH stations. I don't see that you would have any problem at all picking up a car at one of them. I would recommend the Hertz on Christopher Columbus Ave near Greene St.
posted by lyra4 at 5:40 PM on May 16, 2011

I started to write a long comment but lyra4 nails it. Take a cab. Also, beware the sketchy semi-legal taxis; don't get in one without proper licensing.
posted by immlass at 5:45 PM on May 16, 2011

Best answer: We've used CarMina car service to get to Hoboken from Newark airport, and my relatives in Hoboken use them all the time. Cheaper and more convenient than a cab. 877-339-7778

The driver will call when you are scheduled to land and come pick you up just outside the baggage terminal.

You can ask what the fare is ahead of time and get a confirmation.
posted by qwip at 6:17 PM on May 16, 2011

Response by poster: Thank you all. Lyra, thanks very much for taking the time to lay all of that out for us. Sounds like a cab or limo when we arrive will be the right way to do this. I'll call some car rental agencies this week and see what I can line up for the Friday; our trip is in about a month, so we should be able to find something.

We stayed in JC when we did this trip two years ago, and found it to be very convenient. We had a good experience at the Candlewood Suites (except for a soggy walk from there to the PATH station dragging two cranky kids behind us, but that wasn't the hotel's fault), but it was great being right across the river from Manhattan. Might try to stay there again. We won't have a lot of time to see the city this trip, but we're hoping to make the most of the time we have.
posted by mosk at 10:16 PM on May 16, 2011

There's an Avis in the Newport Center Mall mall (Pavonia Newport Path stop) if you don't want to go all the way back to the airport. I believe there are other car rental companies there too.
posted by valeries at 8:20 AM on May 18, 2011

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