Of all the nation's urban transit systems, Metropolitan
Transportation Authority's New York City Subway is by far the most
extensive, at about 230 route miles. It has the most number of lines
(about 25), and stations (over 460). It's the busiest, at about
1.5 billion passengers a year. Rolling stock
includes about 5,800 subway cars. Four of the
city's five boroughs are served by the main subway system.
The subway's now-unified network consists of three historical components.
The former IRT (Interborough Rapid Transit) and BMT (Brooklyn Manhattan
Transit) Divisions started out under private ownership. New York City
acquired both companies in 1940. By then the city had already
undertaken construction of most of the IND
Division (Independent System). The IRT, BMT and IND designations
remained in official use for the better part of three decades after all the
lines were under municipal ownership. Operation was first under the Board of
Transportation, and then was long handled by the New York City Transit
Metropolitan Transit Authority is an agency of the
State of New York, and dates to the dark transit days of the early 1980s.
Other MTA divisions run the Staten Island Railway (which serves the
fifth borough), commuter
rail on Long Island and to the north, and various bus lines.
In this photo lines from the former IRT and BMT come adjacent to each other
to allow for cross-platform transfer
at Queensboro Plaza in Long Island City. The upper level is for outbound
traffic, and a train heading to Astoria is in view heading off to the left.
The lower level is for Manhattan-bound traffic, and a train from Flushing is
approaching the station. After three more stops in Queens (on a
route which allows
great views of Amtrak's yards and of the city skyline before the subway into
the Steinway Tunnels takes over) it will head
under the East River and into Manhattan.