Subway Challenge

Subway Challenge

The objective of the Subway Challenge is to navigate the entire New York City Subway system in the shortest time possible. This ride is also know at the Rapid Transit Challenge and the "Ultimite Ride".

There are two primary variations of this challenge:
1. Full-system ride that requires you to stop at each station. (Class B)
2. Skip-stop ride that only requires you to pass through each station. (Class C)

There is a third variation (Class A) which requires riders to cover all lines of the system. More specifically that means "During the run, the contestants making the run must traverse completely at least once each segment of right-of-way of the Transit Authority system. Each segment may be traversed either in one continuous transit or in any number of partial transits between stations on the segment."

The three classes of rides (A, B and C) are defined by the [ Amateur New York Subway Riding Committee (ANYSRC)] , created by Peter Samson in 1966.

[ Guinness World Records] recognizes what is essentially the Class B rules as the official World Record. The only difference between the rides defined by Guinness and the ANYSRC, is ANYSRC rides must be completed on a single fare while the Guinness rules allow for, "transfers between subway lines must be made by scheduled public transport or on foot. The use of private motor vehicles, taxis or any other form of privately arranged transport (bicycles, skateboards, etc.) is not allowed." The complete Guinness rules can be found on the [ Rapid Transit Challenge] website, and are similar to the rules for the London Tube Challenge.

Current Records

Bill Amarosa, Jr., Michael Boyle, Brian Brockmeyer, Stefan Karpinski, Jason Laska and Andrew Weir set the Guinness World Record on December 28-29, 2006 with a time of 24 hours, 54 minutes, 3 seconds, breaking the previous record by nearly 1 1/2 hours.

The "Subway Six" as one newspaper referred to them, were all classmates at Regis High School in Manhattan and represent all five boroughs of New York City, with the sixth member hailing from New Jersey. Bill Amarosa was a life-long railfan and had discussed a record attempt while they were in high school, but it was conversation at their 10-year reunion on June 17, 2006 that sparked planning for the attempt. From conception to execution, the record attempt took 6 months, but Guinness took 5 months to confirm the record and 9 months to send the team an [ official record certificate] .

On August 23-24, 2006, Donald Badaczewski and Matt Green made a run setting the skip-stop record. During their run, a Class C attempt as defined by the [ Amateur New York Subway Riding Committee] , they were required to pass through, but not necessarily stop at, each station. Thus they utilized express trains where possible to save time. They did this on a single fare, not exiting the system until the completion of the race. They posted a time of 24 hours, 2 minutes, successfully breaking the previous Class C record of 25 hours, 11 minutes for this feat set in 1998 by Salvatore Babones and Mike Falsetta.

[ Metro] broke the story of this Class C record, which was then covered by many major news outlets, including the [ New York Times] (where it was the most-emailed article), [ CNN] , and [ Reuters] . The Reuters story was subsequently picked up by newspapers around the world, in such countries as Scotland, Argentina, India, South Africa, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Iran. An [,0,7740547.story amNewYork] article suggested that the news environment at the time created a perfect opening for such a lighthearted story. Pundits frequently questioned the pair on how they had relieved themselves during their journey. The two invariably answered that they had "held it" or "toughed it out," despite the fact that "it was tough."


On May 30, 1940, two days before the IRT, BMT, and IND were unified in 1940, Herman Rinke, an electric-railroad buff, became the first person to tour the entire system on a single 5-cent fare, doing it purely as a "sentimental gesture." Rinke rode the system for some 25 hours that day. Since then, more than 70 others - supposedly recorded in an unofficial file in the MTA Public Relations Department - have ridden the entire system.

[ Kevin Foster] held the Guinness World Record for the full-system ride for over 17 years. He set the mark of 26 hours, 21 minutes on October 25, 1989. Searching for a diversion while training to become the first person to bicycle the entire length of The Great Wall in China, Kevin Foster opened up the Guinness Book of World Records to find another challenge. He decided that to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the New York subway system he would spend 85 consecutive hours on the subway, during which time he broke the record for stopping at every station.

Record Validation and Controversy

Some have critiqued the Guinness record because the rules allow you to exit and re-enter the system during the course of the run. However, to date anyone attempting the Guinness Record has also followed the rules of the Class B attempt as defined by the [ Amateur New York Subway Riding Committee] . Following both sets of rules means that the record will be officially validated and any critics of the Guinness rules have nothing to complain about because the participants also did it on a single fare.

The Amateur New York Subway Riding Committee is not an official body and does not validate any record attempts, nor does the Metropolitan Transit Authority. Because of this, there is room for cutting corners with any record other than a Guinness Record, however it's not clear why anyone would want to ride the subway for over 24 hours straight and cheat their way to an unofficial record. No one has ever been accused of cheating and it's doubtful it would ever happen.


There are 468 stations in the system (which must all be visited for the Class B record) and 424 multi-station complexes (necessary for the Class C record), on 26 different routes/lines.

78 Stations in the NYC Subway System have bathrooms.

There are roughly 6,200 subway cars and 660 miles of track in passenger service.

In 2004, 53.2% of New Yorkers took public transit to work, Washington DC was second at 33.6%.

Annual ridership of the NYC subway system is 1.499 billion trip, ranking third behind Tokyo and Moscow.

The current record holders of the Class B record began their trip in Rockaway, Queens at Rockaway Park–Beach 116 Street and finished at Wakefield-241 Street in the Bronx.

The current record holders of the Class C record began their trip in Rockaway, Queens at Rockaway Park–Beach 116 Street and finished at Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx.

A 2004 Class B attempt to traverse the system was documented in a short film entitled [ New Lots]

A 2003 Class B attempt was the main topic of a Discovery Times Channel doucmentary on the subway.

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