NYC’s subway lines ranked from best to worst

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NEW YORK (PIX11) – If you’re traveling in New York City, bet on lucky number 7.

That’s according to a new report from a transit advocacy group that ranked the 7 subway line as the best in the city.

The worst? The “terrible 2.”

NYPIRG’s Straphangers Campaign released their findings Wednesday examining the city’s 20 subway lines, how often they show up and whether when they do arrive, if commuters can find a seat or have to push trash out of the way to step on.

But even the term “best” is used loosely and Gene Russianoff with the Straphangers Campaign knows riders will disagree with him.

The group used data from the MTA, including "Mean Distance Between Failures" (MDBF). That's a measurement of car breakdowns and how long between issues.

Running from Flushing, Queens, to Times Square, the 7 line was rated the best for the first time since 2010.

It’s the most frequent top-performer, landing in the No. 1 spot seven times in 16 years (the report card wasn’t issued in 2013 or 2002 in the wake of Hurricane Sandy or the Sept. 11 terror attacks respectively), according to the group.

The 2 line came in dead last once before, in 2011.

Official transit data was used to calculate the findings and assign each a “MetroCard Rating” – with $2.50 being the highest score possible.

The 7 earned a rating of $2.00; the 2 line was scored $1.30.

The C line was called out several times in the report. It breaks down the most often, commuters can barely hear the announcements and there aren’t that many trains running.

But the C train shows up when it’s scheduled to, which is more than can be said about the 5, deemed the most irregular train.

System wide, breakdowns are up, with 11 percent more mechanical problems reported in 2013 than in 2011. Cars, overall, are also slightly cleaner and the announcements are more understandable.

Below is the full picture of the report’s findings:


  • Best: E, with car mechanical failures happening once every 546,744 miles
  • Worst: C, with car breakdowns once every 58,859 miles


  • Best: C, J and Z
  • Worst: Q

Chance of getting a seat

  • Best: R
  • Worst: 2

Frequency of service (how often trains come during rush hour)

  • Best: 6 and 7, coming every two-and-a-half minutes during the morning rush
  • Worst: C, coming once every nine to 10 minutes throughout the day

Regularity of service

  • Best: C
  • Worst: 5

Accurate and understandable announcements

  • Best: 2, 5, 6, E and Q
  • Worst: C

1 Comment

  • David The Expert (@DavidTheExpert)

    No way man, the 6 train NEVER comes “every two and a half minutes during rush hour”. It comes so infrequently, you’re lucky if you can even fit into the damn train during rush hour. You wind up packed in like sardines, and then they tell you you’re delayed due to train traffic even though you stood on the platform for 15 minutes watching zero trains go by.

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