According to an MTA report obtained by NY1, just over a third of subway stops, 173, have cameras aimed at turnstiles, emergency gates and other sections of a station.
Its coverage has left some riders feeling exposed.
"That's kind of shameful, actually,” said Sydney Collazo, a regular subway rider. “I didn't know that.”
At the moment, there are more than 5,000 thousand cameras that span the subway system, used to identify criminal suspects or respond to a potential crime.
It can also help with investigations, like finding the West Virginian man charged with planting fake bombs in the form of empty rice cookers at the Fulton Center station, which crippled service back in August.
Now, the MTA wants to use cameras to focus on fare beating, hence the installation of wireless surveillance cameras at 50 stations.
Police and MTA security officials are monitoring feeds in real time from more than 2,800 cameras.
Viewing footage from the rest of those cameras, recorded in a station's communications room, requires an extra step.
Last year, the MTA got more than 12,000 requests to pull video from those cameras, requiring more than 53,000 man hours.
With more cameras to come, the MTA in its report wrote that "manually retrieving video will become more impractical and untimely."
The MTA does have plans to put cameras in every subway station, earmarking more than $250 million in its proposed capital plan.
But it comes nearly two decades after the 9/11 terror attacks that sparked the MTA's effort to roll out a Closed Circuit TV camera system in the first place.
“It’s 18 years after 9/11,” said Nicholas Casale, a former MTA counter-terrorism. “Remember this: the MTA is in the business of trying to get trains and buses to run on schedule, they’re not in the security or police business. So, I compliment them for their efforts, but they’re a little slow on getting it finally done.”
In a statement, the MTA said its security initiative is "dynamic, routinely changing to address current conditions, and the needs of those ensuring the safety of the transit system."