Q Train Named The ‘Dirtiest’ Subway Line In NYC


q train subway

Well, Q train riders, we apparently are making our treks on the dirtiest subway line in the city, according to a new report by the Straphangers Campaign.

We also are less likely to get a seat on the Q than on other trains – but, on the bright side, the Q doesn’t break down as often as, say, the B, according to the report that used data from 2013 to assess 19 subway lines.

In the Straphanger Campaign’s 16th annual “State of the Subways Report Card,” the advocacy group takes a look at a number of issues on our trains, including breakdowns, cleanliness, and in-car announcements to assess what are the best, and worst, performing lines in the five boroughs.

The 7, which runs between Flushing in Queens to Times Square, was named the best subway line by the group, thanks to its frequency of service, few delays caused by mechanical breakdowns, and more seat availability.

As for the worst subway line? That honor goes to the not-so-illustrious 2 – which basically never has any seats and breaks down more often than other lines. The 2 operates between Brooklyn College and Wakefield in the Bronx.

When it comes to the Q (which tied with the B for the 13th best subway line and has been lauded and slammed by riders), its subway cars have become dirtier in recent years – as have the 1, 6, 7, E, and G. According to the report, the Q had 17 percent of its cars rated moderately or heavily dirty – a rate more than four times higher than the city average. The C and J/Z lines were named the cleanest lines, with just 4 percent of its cars being listed as moderately or heavily dirty.

While the Q’s car breakdown rate has worsened since the findings in the last report card, it still runs far better than other lines. The Q travels about 410,568 miles between delays caused by mechanical failures – compared to the citywide average of 153,382.

We all know how incoherently garbled some announcements sound on the subway – but this isn’t the case on the Q, which garnered a perfect performance for accurate and understandable in-car announcements. (The C line was the worst.)

The B, meanwhile, had more cars break down in 2013 than in the past and fared worse in this report than the previous one when it came to accurate and understandable in-car announcements. It did, however, improve when it came to car cleanliness.

“For riders, the subways can range from daily trips on a lucky 7 to being stuck with a terrible 2 – and everything in between” Gene Russianoff, Straphangers Campaign senior attorney, said in a press release. “Disparities abound and have come to define our city’s subways.”

If you feel like reading the full report, you can do so here.

Comment policy


  1. How exactly is the Q dirty? I’ve rarely seen trash or dirt. Or can you eat off the floor of the other trains?

  2. True, I find the B train better for seats but I still find our two lines better than so many other. I’m so happy I don’t have to ride the F or G.

  3. True story: A few months ago I got on the train and there was a HUGE smear or shit across two seats for the 8AM rush. I got on, looked at it, looked at this father with his two children and shook my head. The kid had an accident and the dad didn’t wipe it off..or get off to change his kids pants. The kid screamed automatically “IT WASN’T ME I SWEAR” .. I said “its ok if it was we all have accidents”.

    Might I add, someone was sitting directly across from the seats eating breakfast without a care in the world.

    ..the Q is pretty dirty.

  4. I nominate the F train as having the most homeless people sleeping across the seats in the AM!

    It’s funny how your Q train picture shows a pretty clean car!

  5. What backwards ass universe are these people living in where the C train is one of the cleanest in the city? That train is the worst! Half the time it smells like cigarettes and the rest of the time it’s covered in bodily fluids of dubious origin. I vote for the Q, hands down.

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