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New York City: Subway Station Conditions

Posted by Content Coordinator on Thursday, October 9th, 2014


The New York City subway system includes 468 passenger stations, which are used by 5.5 million riders each weekday. The system is operated by New York City Transit (NYCT), the largest subsidiary of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Over the past 32 years, NYCT has renovated 241 subway stations at a cost of $4.5 billion as part of its station rehabilitation programs. Under these programs, each station was fully renovated to a state of good repair, including structural and architectural components. Once the work was completed, however, NYCT moved on to the next station for rehabilitation without committing the resources to maintain the renovated stations.

NYCT changed its approach to station renovation beginning with the 2010-2014 capital program. Rather than fully renovating stations, it is now focused on repairing the most deteriorated structural components. NYCT believes that this approach is a more effective use of its limited resources.

NYCT reports that it is making progress addressing structural defects, but as noted in this report, much more remains to be done. NYCT estimates that it will need to invest more than $5 billion over the next 20 years for subway station repairs.

Every five years, NYCT examines the structural and architectural condition of all of the City’s subway stations. The survey, which takes more than a year to complete, rates components on a scale of 1.0 to 5.0. Those rated less than 3.0 are considered by NYCT to be free of defects and in a “state of good repair.” Components rated 3.0 or higher are worn or damaged.

The 2012 survey represents NYCT’s latest data on subway station conditions. Using NYCT’s standards, the survey found that only 51 subway stations (11 percent) were free of both structural and architectural defects, and only 67 more had most (at least 90 percent) of their components in good repair.

The survey found 4,172 structural defects systemwide (27 percent) and 411 stations (88 percent) with at least one structural defect. Only 57 stations (12 percent) were free of structural defects, but another 70 stations had most of their components in good repair. The survey also found that 94 stations had at least half of their components in disrepair, with an average of 16 defective components per station.


  • Nearly all of the New York City subway system’s 468 stations were built before 1940. Nearly two-thirds are at least 90 years old.
  • In 1999, New York City Transit (NYCT) had planned to fully renovate all 468 subway stations by 2022, but that goal will not be achieved.
  • A 2012 survey by NYCT found that only 118 of New York City’s subway stations (25 percent) had at least 90 percent of both their structural and architectural components in good repair.
  • The survey found a total of 4,172 structural defects, or 27 percent of all structural components (4 percent of components displayed serious defects).
  • NYCT reported that in 94 stations at least half of the structural components were in need of repair.
  • The stations in Brooklyn and Queens had the largest share of structural components with defects (one-third).
  • Platform edges, which are important to rider safety, had the largest percentage of defects (43 percent) of any structural component.
  • The survey also found that 83 stations, including some high-profile stations, had at least 25 percent of their architectural components in disrepair.
  • The tile or other finishing on more than one third of all subway station platform walls and floors was in need of repair.
  • More than one-quarter of station components needed to be painted.
  • Of the almost 400 elevators and escalators maintained by NYCT, nearly one in five is beyond its useful life.
  • More than half of the elevators operating beyond their useful lives are located at six deep stations in Upper Manhattan.

Structural components and architectural components


Download full version (PDF): NYC Subway Station Conditions

About the Office of the New York State Comptroller
The New York State Comptroller is the State’s chief fiscal officer who ensures that State and local governments use taxpayer money effectively and efficiently to promote the common good. Headquartered in Albany, the Office of the State Comptroller employs more than 2,600 people. We also maintain New York City offices and eight regional offices.

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