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Subway and bus facts 2019

Updated Apr 14, 2020
Transit nerds, this is for you.

Subway facts

2019 ridership

(Read more about our ridership data.)

Average weekday subway ridership: 5.5 million

Our annual ridership: 1.698 billion

All-time ridership record: 2.067 billion passengers, in 1946

Number of subway cars: 6,684

Subway car mileage: The fleet traveled 365 million miles in 2019

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

  • In 1982: 7,145
  • 2019: 127,743

Routes

  • There are seven numbered routes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
  • There are 15 lettered routes, not including shuttle service: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, J, L, M, N, Q, R, W, Z
  • There are three permanent shuttle services: Franklin Avenue in Brooklyn, Rockaway Park in Queens and 42 St in Manhattan. 

Longest rides

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

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

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

Stations

Number of stations: 472

Number of stations in original Manhattan system: 28 (opened in 1904)

Most station platforms are between 525 and 660 feet long.

Types of stations:

  • Underground (about 60%)
  • elevated
  • embankment
  • open-cut

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. An example: Cortelyou Road Station in Brooklyn.

Highest station above ground: Smith-9 St in Brooklyn, 88 feet above street level.

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

 

The 10 busiest subway stations in 2019

Rank

Station/Complex

Lines

Annual ridership

1

Times Sq-42 St/42 St

N, Q, R, W, S, 1, 2, 3, 7, A, C, E

65,020,294

2

Grand Central-42 St

S, 4, 5, 6, 7

45,745,700

3

34 St-Herald Sq

B, D, F, M, N, Q, R, W

39,385,436

4

14 St-Union Sq

L, N, Q, R, W, 4, 5, 6

32,385,260

5

Fulton St

A, C, J, Z, 2, 3, 4, 5

27,715,365

6

34 St-Penn Station

1, 2, 3

25,967,676

7

34 St-Penn Station

A, C, E

25,631,364

8

59 St-Columbus Circle

A, B, C, D, 1

23,040,650

9

Chambers St, WTC /Park Pl/Cortlandt

A, C, E, 2, 3, R, W

20,820,549

10

Lexington Av-53 St/51 St

E, M, 6

18,957,465

Track and power

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

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

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.

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.

Bus facts

Ridership: 2.2 million per average weekday 678 million annual in 2019.

Number of buses: 5,927 in January 2020

Accessibility: New York City Transit was the first public agency in the world to have a bus fleet 100 percent accessible to customers who use wheelchairs. Every bus is accessible to people in wheelchairs via front or rear-door lifts; many newer buses have low floors that enable customers to enter via front-door ramps.

New York City buses do not accept paper money because NYC Transit uses giant vacuum hoses to empty fareboxes, a process that would shred bills.

Number of miles traveled by an average bus between repairs: 7,749 in 2019

Number of routes: 234 local, 20 Select Bus Service, and 73 express bus routes in the five boroughs.

Longest rides: The longest local bus route is Staten Island's S78 at 19.7 miles between the St George Ferry Terminal and the Bricktown Mall in Charleston.

Depots: Buses are housed, washed, and maintained at 28 depots.

The 10 busiest local bus routes in 2019

Rank

Route

Borough

Ridership

1

M15 Local/SBS

Manhattan

14,513,168

2

Bx12 Local/SBS

Bronx

13,046,584

3

B46 Local/SBS

Brooklyn

11,916,793

4

B6

Brooklyn

10,826,224

5

B44 Local/SBS

Brooklyn

10,079,995

6

M14 Local/SBS

Manhattan

9,410,481

7

Q58

Queens

9,131,904

8

Bx1/2

Bronx

8,683,443

9

B82 Local/SBS

Brooklyn

8,340,460

10

Q44 SBS

Queens

8,248,771

Maintenance

General overhauls and heavy maintenance take place at the Bronx's Zerega Avenue and Brooklyn's Grand Avenue and East New York Central Maintenance Facilities.

The Ninth Avenue shop in Manhattan and the East New York shop in Brooklyn rebuild individual bus components. The Crosstown and Zerega shops paint buses.

Bus maintenance involves more than 7,000 separate parts.

New York City's rank among U.S. bus systems

Annual bus ridership in 2019

  1. New York City Transit/MTA Bus: 678 million
  2. Los Angeles MTA: 278 million
  3. Chicago (CTA): 237 million
  4. San Francisco (Muni): 159 million
  5. New Jersey Transit: 151 million
  6. Philadelphia (SEPTA): 142 million
  7. Seattle (King County DoT): 121 million
  8. Boston (MBTA): 116 million
  9. Washington DC (Metro): 105 million
  10. Denver: 70 million

In 2019, New York City buses carried more passengers than the next three largest bus systems combined.