New York City Subways and Buses, All on a Single Map

Downtown Brooklyn on the Bullet Map
Downtown Brooklyn on the Bullet Map

Here’s a really cool project years in the making: Queens native and OpenPlans alum Anthony Denaro put New York City subway and bus lines on one map.

Denaro says the idea was to include all lines accessible with a single swipe or an unlimited MetroCard. To wit, the “Bullet Map” covers all subway lines, New York City Transit and MTA Bus lines, as well as the Long Island NICE Bus and Westchester’s Bee-Line Bus. Not included: the Long Island Railroad, Metro-North, PATH, express buses, and NYC EDC ferries.

As he explains on a Medium post detailing the project, one thing Denaro hopes to accomplish is to make the MTA’s complex bus system more legible to New Yorkers who might use it more if they saw the full extent of its connections with the subway.

Millions of NYC residents live beyond a 15 minute walk to a subway station. Hundreds of thousands of people start their commute by boarding a bus and then transferring to the subway. This is a map for us.

The attention to buses is apparent, with bus lines in the foreground on the map, and subway lines in the background. And there are no insets. “The densest parts of a transit diagram are the most important,” says Denaro.

Denaro told Streetsblog he’ll be launching a Kickstarter campaign in a few weeks, and will be selling pocket maps as well as poster prints. An app may eventually be in the works, too.

In the meantime, he’s looking for feedback on how to make the Bullet Map better for transit users. You can find him on Twitter, or leave your impressions in the comments.

  • Elizabeth F

    How to make it better for transit users? Why… add routes in the region that are not accessible by one swipe of a Metro-Card, of course! Useful maps need to show transit wherever people live (which is everywhere), not just where one transit agency operates.

  • Joe R.

    Adding Citibike stations might be useful as well, although that info could quickly go out of date as stations are added or moved.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    This map finally puts the “transit desert” myth to rest.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Good luck to him.

    However, there is strong competition that only suffers from a lack of marketing. The NYCT borough bus maps.

    I always preferred them: geographically accurate, shows lots of destinations, subway, bus, commuter rail. And free.

    Sure it’s only one borough at a time, but chances are you’ll only need one borough at a time.

    It’s the analog version for the over 40 set. As for “fantasy maps,” I used to draw them on the bus maps, because they were free.

  • Daniel

    Transit maps are still useful for planners and those that want to understand how the system works, but these days the vast majority of people going from point to point just fire up Citymapper (or a competitor) and choose the trip they want to take from the list of options.

  • alboy2

    This is an excellent idea. I wonder why the MTA never thought of it? Nonetheless, kudos to Mr. Denaro and thanks on behalf of all New Yorkers.

  • Boris

    After seeing multiple claims (including in the title of Denaro’s blog post) that the map includes “all” of NYC Transit, I came to discover, at the very end of the post, that it basically ignores Staten Island, relegating it to a stubby afterthought. I categorically cannot support this project until this is fixed.

  • bolwerk

    Well, most buses don’t leave their boroughs or barely do. Mostly that probably won’t ever change.

  • Jeff

    This map doesn’t show service frequency. Having some bus that runs every 30 minutes during peak hours, 60 minutes off-peak, and not at all overnight is still a “transit desert”.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Yeah, but of course the “transit desert” idea is frequently trotted out as a reason people have to drive into Manhattan. People from the suburbs still manage to take trains and buses into Manhattan even though they have to consult a schedule and catch them, probably because the major auto routes from the suburbs have always been tolled.

    For reference, here’s a (schematic style) map showing 10-minute or better frequency routes citywide (found via the blog Human Transit). It’s still pretty extensive:

  • Joe R.

    I would love to dissect someone’s reasoning on needing to drive all the way into Manhattan because where they live is a so-called transit desert. Real transit deserts in NYC, meaning infrequent bus service even during the day, are relatively rare. Almost every place in NYC is within 1/2 a mile of a bus line which has relatively frequent service to a subway station. It basically comes down to the person not being willing to walk 1/2 a mile or less but even that reason falls apart upon closer examination when you look at parking in Manhattan. You rarely have parking right near your destination. It’s probably fairly common to have to walk 1/4 mile or more from where you find parking.

    The other oft-given reason, saving time, usually falls apart upon closer examination also. Driving may save some time on the bus portion of the trip but once you get to the subway portion all bets are off. What might be a 20 or 25 minute subway ride can easily be an hour drive during peak times. That doesn’t include the time spent looking for parking, which can be substantial, or the time spent walking from the parking spot.

    So in the end you really have no good reason for someone to drive into Manhattan if they live in a transit desert other than the following exceptions:

    1) They work off-peak when buses often run at 30 or 60 minute intervals.
    2) They regularly need to deal with loads larger than is feasible to carry around.

  • What is objectionable is not that this map ignores Staten Island, but that Staten Island remains part of New York City.

    They don’t want us and we don’t want them. There must be a way to end this bad marriage and turn Staten Island loose.

    Until we can figure out how to accomplish this, “ignoring Staten Island” is the correct mindset for anyone doing anything involving our great City.

  • Nancyjkuiper3

    <<fb. ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????::::::!il919r:….,……..

  • JudenChino

    Damn, ain’t that the truth.

  • Rick Horan

    The transit desert is very real for some areas of the City.


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