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Fourteen Facts You Didn’t Know About the New York City Subway


Hurricane Sandy left her wrath everywhere, including flooding and shutting down New York City’s subway system for a few days. With most of the lines back up and running, your days off from work are over. All this free time got us thinking about the subway and its history, so we scoured the net for these cool facts. Next time you’re on the tracks underground (or above ground), share this info with your seat mate. 

1. So many people
You are amongst the 4.3 million people riding the subway daily. And get this, 1 billion people pass through the turnstiles annually.

2. Not no. 1
New York City can only claim to have the seventh largest annual ridership on a rail system in the world.

3. In the beginning
On October 27, 1904, NYC's first underground subway opened with 28 stations and ran from City Hall to 145th Street and Broadway.

4. What a jump
Between 1904 to 2010, a single fare ride rose from 5 cents to $2.50 – a whopping 5,000%

5. So much riding
Add it to your bucket list to sit in all 6,400 subway cars and exit at all 468 subway stations

6. Burn baby, burn
City lights in Buffalo can be juiced for an entire year from the amount of power the subway system uses in a year.

7. Show me the money
October 2002, the MTA signed a $952 million contract for 660 new R160 cars - they rolled onto tracks in 2007

8. So much steel
When not filled with masses of people, an empty R160 subway car weighs 85,200 pounds and spans 60 feet in length

9. Tick Tock
Time is on your side with 220 subway clocks now in place throughout the entire subway system

10. So many messages
If you’re not sleeping, reading a book or gazing endlessly at your feet, more than likely you are staring at the assault of advertising ads lining the subway’s cars and station platforms. CBS Outdoor, a subsidiary of CBS Corporation (yes, as in channel 2), handles all the advertising for the MTA.

11. Going deep
Picture this: You are 160 feet beneath the earth’s surface if you’ve ever taken the 1 to 191st Street – the system’s deepest station.

12. The I, B, what?
The IRT (Interborough Rapid Transit) and BMT (Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit) were privately owned when built and then sold to the city in June 1940. However, the IND (Independent Rapid Transit Railroad) was government built and operated.

13. So much length
So what’s the difference between the BMT, IND and IRT? Besides the different trains, the primary difference are the platform lengths: IRT station platforms are 525 feet long; BMT platforms are 615 feet long, and IND's claim to fame are the longest platforms - 660 feet.

14. Get naked The next time you’re either entertained or startled by a barrage of pant-less men and women on the subway, you can silently thank or curse Charlie Todd – founder of the No Pants Subway Ride

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October 25, 2014

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