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R143 subway cars have a computerized feature to
regulate train speed, which allows L Line icon trains to run
closer together.

Serves: Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island through MTA Staten Island Railway (SIR).

: In 2016, average weekday subway ridership was 5.7 million, the highest since 1948. Annual ridership was 1.757 billion.

Routes: Numbered routes include the 1  Line icon 2  Line icon 3  Line icon 4 Line icon 5 Line icon 6 Line icon 7  Line icon

Lettered routes include A  Line icon B Line icon C  Line icon D Line icon E Line icon F Line icon G Line icon J Line icon L Line icon M Line icon N Line icon Q Line icon R Line icon S Line icon W Line icon Z Line icon

The 22 interconnected subway routes feature across-the-platform transfers between express and local service at many stations. There are also three permanent S Line icon shuttle services: Franklin Avenue, Rockaway Park and 42 Street.

Across-the-platform transfers and connections
Many subway stations let you cross the platform to change from one route to another. However, at times trains leave before customers can make the connection. This usually happens during rush (peak) hours when the subway is busiest and trains run more frequently. If a train doesn't proceed it can affect the schedule, backing up trains behind it and slowing service all along the line.

During off-peak hours, when the subway is less crowded, conductors can hold trains that enter the same station at the same time, and passengers can transfer across the platform. Subway personnel can do this as long as both trains are on schedule and waiting will not disrupt either train's schedule.

NYC Transit's Rank Among the World's Subway Systems

Annual Subway Ridership*



3.660 billion



3.411 billion



3.401 billion



2.620 billion



2.568 billion



2.384 billion


New York City

1.757 billion


Hong Kong

1.716 billion


Mexico City

1.624 billion



1.526 billion


* Statistics gathered using available data.  Methodologies may vary among systems.

Number of subway cars: 6,418 
Number of weekday train trips: 8,200
Subway car mileage: The fleet traveled 358 million miles in 2016

Number of miles traveled by an average subway car between repairs:

1982 7,145
2016 112,208

Longest Rides

With no change of trains:
the A  Line icon train from 207th Street in Manhattan to Far Rockaway in Queens (more than 31 miles).

With a transfer: the 2  Line icon train from 241st Street in the Bronx, with a transfer to the Far Rockaway-bound A  Line icon Train (more than 38 miles).

Between stations: the A  Line icon train between the Howard Beach/JFK Airport and Broad Channel stations in Queens (3.5 miles).

The A  Line icon train (shown in Utica Avenue Station, Brooklyn)
can take you more than 31 miles for only one fare.



From the original 28 stations built in Manhattan and opened on October 27, 1904, the subway system has grown to 472 stations, most of which were built by 1940. Their design represents three distinct styles since two private companies – the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) and the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT) – and the city-owned Independent Rapid Transit Railroad (IND), built them. The more ornate IRT and BMT stations were largely open by 1928, while the newer IND, which mostly opened between 1932 and 1948, used a more streamlined, Machine-Age design. The primary difference among the three types of stations is platform lengths. IRT stations have platforms that are generally 525 feet long; most BMT platforms are around 615 feet long, and some IND platforms are 660 feet.

Over the past 30 years, NYC Transit has rehabilitated or upgraded almost half the stations in the system, making sure to rebuild the distinctive tile mosaics of the stations. More recently, NYC Transit has also begun inventorying and replacing failing or outdated individual components of stations. In addition, MTA Arts for Transit has commissioned and installed artwork in dozens of stations since 1985.

The only time that the subway system carried more passengers than it did in 2015 was during an almost unbroken period from 1926 through 1948. The all-time ridership record was 2.067 billion passengers in 1946.

Types of stations: Underground (about 60 percent); elevated, embankment, and open-cut. *

Highest station
above ground: Smith-9 Sts F  Line icon G  Line icon in Brooklyn, 88 feet above street level.

Deepest station:
191 St 1  Line icon in Manhattan, 180 feet below street level.

* An open-cut station is built below street level, in a trench-like depression, or "cut." Unlike a station built in a tunnel, most "open-cut" stations are exposed to the outdoors.
Example: Cortelyou Road Q  Line icon station in Brooklyn.


The Flatbush Avenue station, Brooklyn before....

and after station renovation.

The Ten Busiest Subway Stations 2016

Station and Subway Lines 
Annual Ridership
1. Times Sq-42 St  N Line icon Q Line icon R Line icon W Line icon S  Line icon 1  Line icon 2  Line icon 3  Line icon 7  Line icon / 42 St A  Line icon C  Line icon E  Line icon Manhattan 64,531,511
2. Grand Central-42 St  S  Line icon 4 Line icon 5 Line icon 6 Line icon 7  Line icon Manhattan 46,121,509
3. 34 St-Herald Sq B Line icon D Line icon F Line icon M  Line icon N Line icon Q Line icon R Line icon W Line icon Manhattan 39,000,352
4. 14 St-Union Sq L Line icon N Line icon Q Line icon R Line icon W Line icon 4 Line icon 5 Line icon 6 Line icon Manhattan 34,289,822
5. 34 St-Penn Station 1  Line icon 2  Line icon 3  Line icon Manhattan 27,741,367
6. 34 St-Penn Station   A  Line icon C  Line icon E  Line icon Manhattan 25,183,869
7. Fulton St A  Line icon C Line icon J  Line icon Z Line icon 2  Line icon 3  Line icon 4 Line icon 5 Line icon Manhattan 25,162,937
8. 59 St-Columbus Circle A  Line icon B Line icon C  Line icon D Line icon 1  Line icon Manhattan 23,203,443
9. Lexington Av W Line icon / 59 St 4 Line icon 5 Line icon 6 Line icon Manhattan 21,000,635
9. 86 St 4 Line icon 5 Line icon 6 Line icon Manhattan 20,337,593

Track and Power

Track Gauge:
(distance between rails) is 4 feet 8.5 inches, the same as that of major American railroads.

Miles of Track: With the opening of the 7 Line icon Line extension to 34th St.-Hudson Yards in 2015 and the new Second Avenue Q Line on January 1, 2017, the subway system now has more than 665 mainline track miles.

DID YOU KNOW? Laid end to end, NYC Transit train tracks would stretch from New York City to Chicago.

Power sources: Substations receive as much as 27,000 volts from power plants and convert it for use in the subway. The third (contact) rail uses 625 volts to operate trains.

Types of power: Alternating current (AC) operates signals, station and tunnel lighting, ventilation, and miscellaneous line equipment.

Direct current (DC) operates trains and auxiliary equipment, such as water pumps and emergency lighting.


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