The New York City Subway is a rapid transit system owned by the City of New York and leased to the New York City Transit Authority, a subsidiary agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). With 468 stations it is the most extensive public transportation system in the world and also the world's oldest public transit system. In 2012, the subway delivered 1.65 billion rides, averaging 5.4 million rides on weekdays, about 3.2 million rides on Saturdays, and about 2.5 million rides on Sundays. Those numbers make, by annual ridership, the New York City Subway the busiest rapid transit rail system in the United States and in the Americas, as well as the seventh busiest rapid transit rail system in the world. Tokyo, Seoul, Moscow, Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou record higher annual riderships.

Currently, it is one of only five rapid transit systems in the United States to offer rail service 24 hours per days and every day of the year. Overall, the New York City Subway system contains a total of 842 miles of trackage. Its stations are located throughout the boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx. The subway system, contrary to what many of its passengers believe, actually is among the most cost-efficient in the country, with the lowest cost per passenger trip and second-lowest cost per passenger mile.