Achieving a successful and smooth ride in the city's massive, complex and bustling 24-hour subway system can elude everyday regulars and newbies, alike. But there are tips and tricks everyone develops in their routine train travels, whether it's how to optimize your chance of getting a seat, chop precious minutes off of a commute, or just make it through the system.

"In a busy station like this," Jefferson Hughes, 23, of Flatbush, said at Penn Station, "people are hustling and bustling. If you don't know where you're going, they'll knock you over."

Brian Gallagher, a 24-year-old California transplant living in Harlem , admitted to taking the wrong train on occasion.

"Hopefully, if I stay longer, I will learn more tricks," Gallagher said. "It definitely takes some getting used to."

We spoke with nearly three-dozen train riders, including a couple of transit experts, who shared their subway wisdom to help both beginner and seasoned straphangers.