The New York City subway system serves 5.6 million riders on a typical weekday, the highest ridership since 1950. Average subway trips are 6 miles in length; the subway system is responsible for transporting individuals a combined total of 27 million miles within New York City every day (about 1,000 times around the Earth’s equator).
The subway system consists of:
468 subway stations (including the Staten Island Railway), 277 of which are below ground and 191 above: more subway stations than any other system in the world.
6,311 subway cars. At peak hours, more than 570 trains operate simultaneously.
659 track miles, accommodating 24 distinct lines.
Up to 27,000 volts of power. The third rail, powering the trains in operations, uses 625 volts.
45,537 employees (for subways and buses, and related functions)
New York City’s subway system is the largest in the United States, and the seventh largest in the world. The system is distinguished by its flat fare, allowing passengers to ride the entire system with a single $2.50 fare, while most other systems require additional payment for increased distances. It is also one of the few 24-hour, 7-day systems in the world.
Subway ridership has grown significantly in recent years, reaching a 62-year high in 2012 with 1.654 billion trips, and growing most significantly during off-peak travel times. On October 24, 2013, the subway reached its highest ridership ever on record, with 5,985,311 rides that day.
Subway stations exist at the highest density in Manhattan, where there are an average of 6.4 subway stations for every square mile; this is more than twice the density of any other borough. New York City contains one subway station for every 17,000 residents.
MTA New York City Transit operates and maintains the New York City subway system in all five boroughs. MTA Capital Construction manages major subway-related construction projects, including the Second Avenue Line and the Fulton Street Transit Center.
The PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) subway system is separate from the New York City Transit system, and connects the city across the Hudson River to New Jersey via six stations in Manhattan. In 2012 PATH accommodated roughly 80 million trips; ridership had steadily increased annually, but was deeply affected by the system closures following Superstorm Sandy.
American Public Transportation Association. “2012 Public Transportation Factbook.” September 2012.
American Public Transportation Association. “Individual Agency Data.” 2012.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority, "Subway and Bus Ridership.” 2012.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority, "Subway Facts and Figures."
Metropolitan Transportation Authority, “Subway Ridership Highest in 62 Years,” March 2013.
New York Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Hub-Bound Data.
Flegenheimer, Matt. "In October, a Day for the New York City Subway’s Ridership Record Book," The New York Times, November 20, 2013.