In recent years, China's urban rail transit has developed rapidly and its operation scale has maintained a rapid growth. Rail transit not only has a large initial construction investment, but also has a great pressure on expenditure in the operation period. During the period of the 14th five-year plan, how to realize the development of urban rail transit from having to high quality and realizing the sustainable operation economy is an important problem that cities need to study and solve. This paper analyzes the operation cost, ticket revenue and non ticket revenue of rail transit in 13 typical cities in China, summarizes the characteristics of operation revenue and expenditure, and conducts benchmarking analysis based on the operating revenue and expenditure of Tokyo Metro and Hong Kong Metro. Based on the advanced experience, the key to the sustainable development of urban rail transit operation economy is to "open up sources and reduce expenditure", effectively reduce the operation cost, improve operation service level to attract passenger flow, vigorously develop related business, and realize the internalization of external benefits. Hoping to provide beneficial help for the development of urban rail transit.