NYC’s best and worst subway lines of 2016

December 30, 2016

Despite the fact that its impending shutdown dominated negative subway headlines this year, the L train is tied for one of the three best-performing lines, along with the 1 and 7. The worst? The A and E. The rankings come from the Straphangers Campaign’s 2016 State of the Subways Report Card (h/t Gothamist), which graded the system’s 20 lines based on six indicators from MTA transit data–service regularity, breakdown rate, crowding, cleanliness, and in-car announcements.

NYC subway commute

The three lines in the top spots landed there thanks to providing the “most generous amounts of morning and evening rush hour service.” Individually, the 1 is less crowded and cleaner than the average line; the 7 had less breakdowns and the most clean interiors; and the L had almost perfectly accurate and understandable announcements. As for the losers, they were the most irregular. The 5 was the second-most crowded line, and the A had an above-average breakdown rate and less frequent midday service.

Overall, breakdowns are up by seven percent, and regularity decreased by 1.4 percent, but trains are one percent cleaner. Here are some other fun facts from the report, which exemplify the “large disparities in how subway lines perform:”

  • The Q had the least number of delays caused by breakdowns. The C had the most.
  • The 7 was the cleanest line, and the Q was the dirtiest.
  • The 4 was the most crowded (shocker), and the R the least.
  • The 6 and 7 had the most scheduled service, with just two-and-a-half minutes between trains during rush hour. The C had the least, with more than nine minutes in between.
  • The G, surprisingly, was the most regular, while the 5 was the most irregular.

See the full report card here >>

[Via Gothamist]


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  1. J

    No idea why they don’t rate the cleanliness of the subway stations themselves? They’re filthy. The platforms covered in discarded gum and dirt. The smell of old pealing paint dust grime all over the interior of the filthy space where people have to wait breathing in this stench and filth. The tracks. Go to Europe and be amazed. Cant even relate this horror to the ‘third world’ …. It’s more like hell on earth!