Blog Transportation

Best (and Worst) Stations by Subway Line

September 14, 2015

On Sunday the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) opened its Hudson Yards subway station at 34th Street and 11th Avenue, the first expansion of the subway system since 1989. This brand-new terminus of the 7 train is a stark contrast to the stations on the rest of that line and underscores the need to bring all subway stations to a safe and functional status referred to as a “state of good repair” (SGR).

A recent Citizens Budget Commission Policy Brief used data from the MTA’s survey of station conditions to describe the status of all 467 active subway stations individually and by borough; it also found that the MTA’s current investment policies would not achieve SGR for all stations until at least 2067.1 This blog post describes the condition of subway stations for each of the 21 lettered or numbered lines.

The accompanying table ranks the subway lines from worst to best based on the share of their stations’ structural components not in SGR.2 Structural components of stations are elements such as stairs, platform edges, and ventilators essential for safety and performance. Each of the system’s 15,275 structural components is rated from 1 to 5 with scores at 3 or higher indicating the component is not in SGR.


Using this standard, the worst line is the 7; its 21 stations have 37 percent of their 618 structural components not in SGR. The second worst line is the C; its 40 stations have 26 percent of their 2,011 structural components not in SGR.


In contrast, the 6 is in the best condition; its 38 stations have only 15 percent of their 1,288 components not in SGR. This favorable rating is partly attributable to the planned completion of six renewals of 6 stations in the Bronx as part of the MTA’s 2010-2014 capital plan. Stations served by 4 and 5 trains also rank favorably with 18 percent and 16 percent, respectively, of their stations’ structural components not in SGR. Likewise, a high mark for M stations (17 percent not in SGR) is supported by planned completion of five renewals along Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn and Queens.3


The MTA’s proposed, but not yet approved, 2015-2019 capital program includes improvements to components at 199 stations including 19 relatively comprehensive station renewals. The renewals are expected to fix 327 structural components, including 124 components at 7 stations and 89 components at N and Q stations. These investments would decrease the share of components not in SGR for stations served by these lines to 17 percent, 12 percent, and 14 percent, respectively.4


Readers can explore the condition of individual stations along a subway route and see how conditions vary among lines using the Citizens Budget Commission’s interactive map.


  1. Citizens Budget Commission, Sysiphus and Subway Stations, (September 1, 2015).
  2. Stations are counted as part of each line they serve with some stations serving multiple lines. For example, the Marcy Avenue station is included in the total for each line that stops there, the J, M, and Z.
  3. Metropolitan Transportation Authority, “Capital Program Dashboard” (accessed September 8, 2015), 2005-2009 Capital Program and 2010-2014 Capital Program,
  4. This change does not account for decreasing ratings from wear and tear of components from 2012 survey to completion of proposed capital work. See: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Capital Program 2015-2019: Renew, Enhance, Expand (September 2014),