Among the city's many subway lines, none is lacking like the C, according to the Straphangers Campaign, which has given the Eighth Avenue train the dubious honor of being the worst in the MTA's vast underground system.

The Q train, which runs from Coney Island to Astoria, was ranked the best.

"This is not a shock to New Yorkers," said Gene Russianoff, a spokesman for the riders advocacy group. "They pretty much all know that the C stinks."

He said the C has been the "worst" line for four consecutive years, based on a line's schedule, its ability to follow it and how often trains break down. The MTA also judges lines based on the likelihood a rider will get a seat, the train's cleanliness and how easy it is to understand announcements.

"People who ride the C train should be up in arms about the quality of service," Russianoff said as he released the group's report, based on MTA data.

In a statement, MTA officials insisted that the Straphangers Campaign report does "not tell the full story."

The MTA statement said that riders should look at the MTA's own monthly "Key Performance Indicator" report, which grades riders' wait time, how accurately subways follow the schedule and the distance between breakdowns. The MTA gave itself an 82.5 percent overall rating in its most recent self-assessment, with the No. 2 and 4 lines tying for last place, according to its most recent transit study.

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The Straphangers report also found that cars used on the C line, which are more than 40 years old, are the dirtiest of the agency's 20 routes.

With Ariam Frezghi