Subway Performance Rules

The MTA is proud to support and promote the arts and musical performances. Any musician is welcome to perform in the New York City subway system as long as they follow the Transit Rules of Conduct.

Section 1050.6 (c) of the New York City Transit Rules of Conduct permits "artistic performances" within the subway system, provided the performances do not impede transit activities and are conducted in accordance with the Rules of Conduct. The term "artistic performances" includes musical performances.

A series of specific rules governing musical performances are set forth in the subparts to Section 1050.6 (c) of the Rules of Conduct. These specific rules:  

Prohibit the use of particular locations within the transit system for musical performances. Musicians are not allowed to play:

  • at any location where the musical performance would interfere with or impede transit services or the movement of passengers;
  • when on or within a subway car; a bus; or, in any area not generally open to the public;
  • within 25 feet of a station booth, or a fare media sales device including but not limited to a fare media vending machine;
  • within 50 feet of the marked entrance to an Transit Authority office;
  • on a platform where there is construction, renovation, or maintenance work underway (including any such work in or near track areas), or near the staircases, escalators, or elevators leading to such platform or track area at which there is such construction, renovation, or maintenance work underway;
  • at a location where their presence interferes with access onto or off of an escalator, stairway, or elevator.

Restrict sound levels of musical performances:

  • On subway platforms, musicians are not permitted to use amplification devices of any kind, electronic or otherwise.
  • Musical performances must not create excessive noise or emit noise that interferes with transit operations.
  • The emission of any sound in excess of 85 dBA on the A weighted scale measured at five feet from the source of the sound or 70 dBA measured at two feet from a station booth is excessive noise and is prohibited.
  • Musicians using a sound production device may not begin or continue the use of such sound production device during any announcement made over the public address system or by a New York City police officer or by a Transit Authority employee.

To review the complete NYC Transit Rules of Conduct, click here.

And please keep in mind, to keep the system safe and working efficiently for all of us, under the Rules of Conduct, nobody — whether a performing musician or regular rider — is permitted to act in a way that may interfere with the provision of transit service, obstruct the flow of traffic on facilities or conveyances, or interfere with the safe and efficient operation of the facilities or conveyances of the Transit Authority.