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The Guinness World Record for Traveling the NYC subway in the shortest time

Click here to view the PDF we received from Guinness World Records

Current Record

The record time for traveling the entire New York City subway system is 26 hours, 21 minutes,  8 seconds by Kevin Foster (USA) on October 25-26, 1989.

Guidelines

The following is a guide to the specific considerations and undertakings, in addition to the general requirements, for any potential attempt on traveling the New York City Subway in the shortest time record. They should be read and understood by all concerned - organizers, participants and witnesses - prior to the event.

Rules

This record is for traveling the entire MTA New York City subway system in the least amount of time.

  1. All of the stations served by the subway system must be visited. To "visit" a station, the challenger must arrive and/or depart by a subway train in normal public service.  It is necessary for a train to stop at the station for the visit to count, although the challenger does not have to leave the train at that station.  If a station is normally open only at certain times of the day, this must be taken into account during planning.  Only if a station is temporarily closed (e.g. for rebuilding or in an emergency) will a non-stop pass through a station be acceptable. 

  2. It is only necessary to visit all the stations on the network, not to travel every stretch of line. Thus, if a station is served by more than one line, it is not necessary to visit that station on each line.

  3. Challengers may travel the same stretch of track (and visit the same station) more than once, if necessary.

  4. Attempts on this record must be continuous (i.e. any breaks or stops that are taken must be included in the final time).

  5. 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.

Authentication

For the purposes of verifying any claim, the following must be provided:

Witness Book

Any attempt must take place in view of the public, wherever possible, and a book made available for independent witnesses to sign.  The book should be set up so that the following details can be included for each potential witness:  Date, time, location, name, signature.

For solo and unsupported attempts, we appreciate that it might not be possible to gain an unbroken line of witnesses, but one should try to obtain as many as possible. For an attempt that is supported by a backup team, we would expect it to be possible to gain sufficient numbers of independent witnesses to enable verification for the entire duration of the attempt. Where possible, local dignitaries and police should be sought to sign the book.

Logbook

A logbook detailing every stage of the journey, i.e. the time of arrival and departure from each station, line changes, commutes between lines and stations, etc. must be maintained. This book should illustrate clearly the route followed.

All rest breaks or stoppages for whatever reason must also be fully detailed in the log.

Statements

To attest to the validity and genuineness of the claim, we require signed statements of authentication by two independent persons of some standing, one of whom should have attended the beginning of the event and, if possible, the end.

These statements should originate directly from the witnesses (in their own hand) and be submitted where possible on their own headed notepaper and include full contact details.

Statements should not take the form of documents prepared by those involved in the record attempt.

NOTE: This information posted here is for reference purposes only, and should not be relied on as the “official” Guinness rules. Contestants should consult with Guinness World Records before attempting this record.

 

Additional Rules We Will Hold Ourselves To 

  1. Good sportsmanship:  All participants are expected to display good sportsmanship, and to commit no mischief or criminal act while engaged in this competition.  We commit to finding bathrooms or otherwise holding it in.

  2. Single Fare:  Each participant making the run must pay one fare upon entering the system at the start of the run, and until the completion of the run must pay no further fare nor reenter system by fraudulent means or by any pass.

  3. Station List:  Participants should obtain a complete station list from NYC Transit so they understand what stations within a multi-station complex they must visit separately via a different train.

 

Regulations Regarding Amateur New York Subway Riding 

The Amateur New York Subway Riding Committee was created by Peter Samson, the MIT student who led a 1966 and 1967 attempt at the record.  After the first run made by his group, they realized that some standards were needed to compare different attempts by different groups.  Peter and his teammate Dick Gruen met with Geoffrey Arnold, who had set an earlier record, and developed by what they called the Amateur New York Subway Riding Committee.  Their rules delineated three different categories of record attempts:

  • Class A - Covering all Lines

  • Class B - Touching all Stations

  • Class C - Passing all Stations

The most popular class of record attempt is Class C which is the shortest ride among the three classes as it counts multi-station complexes as one station and allows rider to pass by stations on express trains without stopping.  In fact, except for Kevin Foster's attempt, all the notable rides listed on our History page are Class C attempts.  Foster's record recognized by Guinness is a Class B record and this is the ride we will be making.

Click here to visit the Amateur New York Subway Riding Committee