23 of the worst things about the NYC subway

Service disruptions, gross smells, dirty stations and obnoxious people — how do New Yorkers loathe the subway? Let us count the ways.

In honor of yet another fare hike (making it $127 for a monthly and $33 for a weekly — ouch), here are 23 of the worst things about the subway.

Politicians treating the MTA like a hot potato

Who runs the subways? Everyone and no one, apparently. (But seriously, the MTA is a state-run agency led by Gov. Andrew Cuomo).

The great L train confusion of 2019

Does anyone *really* know what’s going on with the L train? We’re not even sure the MTA does.

Operators with a heavy hand on the brake

It’s bad enough this train is crawling at a snail’s pace. Please. Stop. Hitting. The. Break. So. Hard.

Crowded trains

Oh you thought you were going to get a seat at 8 a.m. on a Tuesday? That’s cute.

Service disruptions

Waits patiently for congestion pricing to solve all of our problems

No elevators and broken escalators

It’s been nearly 30 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed, yet only about 25 percent of the subway system’s 472 stations have elevators (assuming they all work properly).

People listening to music/watching videos without headphones

Be a considerate person and buy some $10 headphones from Walgreens like the rest of us.

The MetroCard

Swipe, nope. Swipe, nope try again. Swipe, ha nope. Oh look, there goes your train. Is OMNY up and running yet?

Just keep swiping, just keep swiping.
Just keep swiping, just keep swiping. Photo Credit: Rajvi Desai

Missing your train

Is there anything more heartbreaking than watching the doors of your train close right in front of your face as you pant on the platform after sprinting down the stairs and through the turnstile? (Quietly curses the MetroCard for slowing you down.)

Dilapidated stations

Leaks, mold, rust, peeling paint, rats and roaches — the list goes on.


Put your granola bar wrapper in your pocket and stick it in the trash later. K, thanks.

Garbled announcements

Why bother taking your headphones out? Even with the live announcements, you can’t understand what they’re saying half the time anyway.

Empty cars

Real New Yorkers know, you never trust an empty car. What’s in there? Most likely a smell so gross it will be make you dry heave.

Loud talkers

Stop shouting to your friend half way across the train car during morning rush hour. Whatever it is, it can wait until you get off the train.

The express to local nightmare

You can hear the collective sigh of everyone on the train as the number of stops suddenly doubles.

Manspreaders and women who put purses on empty seats

This is an equal opportunity subway faux pas.

The smells

If it’s not garbage on the seat or urine in the corner, it’s the guy next to you eating falafel at 10 a.m. Oh, and remember that time the L train smelled like gasoline for several days?

People who don’t offer their seat to the elderly or disabled

There’s no amount of hiding behind your phone or feigning sleep that will save you from judgment. We see you. We all see you.

Pole hoggers

Sharing is caring.

Door blockers

You know who you are. This obnoxious behavior is on par with manspreading. Now excuse me while I shoulder past you and walk into this empty train car.

Onboarders who don’t wait for people to get off

Pro tip: It’s polite to let people get off the train first.

Weekend service outages

We know the MTA is using weekends to fix the system’s dilapidated infrastructure, but we’re New Yorkers so we’re going to complain about it anyway.

Fare hikes

The MTA: We know service isn’t great but we’re trying to do better.

Also the MTA: Give us more money for this subpar service.