The New York subway, operated by the Metropolitan Transit Authority, has the fourth highest number of riders in the world, exceeded only by Tokyo, Moscow and Seoul. In 2010, the system carried 5.2 million passengers weekly on average. It operates with approximately 6,350 cars on 22 interconnected subway routes. The longest ride (with no transfers) is 32 miles, from 207th Street to Far Rockaway.
Visitors to New York often fear the subway, viewing it as a place of crime and violence. In reality, the system is remarkably safe, and more people suffer the kind of injuries experienced above ground than are assaulted or mugged. The MTA reports that most subway injuries occur on station stairways, where people in a hurry push others who then fall. Moreover, at least 42percent of subways injuries are fueled by alcohol, with many occurring after 4 AM when bars in the city close.
Although the New York subway is very safe, some parts of it are safer than others. Surprisingly, some of the more affluent areas of the city have the most dangerous subway stations. For example, in 2005 and 2006, the largest numbers of reported assaults took place at the West 4th station, Penn Station, 2nd Avenue Station, 2nd Avenue station, Grand Central, 86th Street (East Side) and 125th Street (East Side). The most dangerous station in the system is Penn Station, with more incidents per rider than any other station.
While it is impossible to protect yourself entirely from other passengers, there are things you can do to improve safety in New York’s subways:
•· Stand behind the yellow protective strip and away from the edge of the platform.
•· Do not ride on the top of the train or hold onto the outside doors. This is not only dangerous, but it’s against the law.
•· Hold on if you are standing.
•· Do not try to keep the car door from closing by standing in the doorway. It is not an elevator door.
•· Do not ride between cars.
•· Hold onto your children.
•· If you have a stroller, put the brake on when standing on the platform.