Travelling to a new city is exciting, and public transport is usually the fastest (and the cheapest) way to explore a new destination – not to mention environmentally friendly! So if you’re considering a trip abroad, check out our list of cities with the best public transportation.
Sophisticated Singapore is home to some of the slickest public transport systems in the world. Typically cited as being clean and mega efficient, you can whizz around on the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) service to pretty much all of the city’s attractions.
Hop off at the famed Raffles Hotel for a Singapore Sling, take the MRT to the Gardens by the Bay, or to the incredible Singapore Museum. Pick up an EZ-Link card, which works on the buses and the subway system, or grab the Singapore Tourist Card, which offers cards with unlimited travel for 1-3 days for 10-20SGD ($11-21).
London established the first subway system in the world, with trains operating in the London Underground since 1863. This excellent public transportation system can have you shopping down Oxford Street, strolling in Hyde Park, or standing before Big Ben in a jiff.
The London Underground map system is ingenious and very easy to read, and therefore, easy to navigate. You can pick up an Oyster card (the city’s travel card) and load it up with a set value, or you can use your contactless payment cards, like a debit or credit card. A typical single fare on the tube is 2.40GBP ($4.60) and on the bus it is 1.50GBP ($2.90). Be aware that if you pay for a single ticket in cash, more than double a single fare that is paid with an Oyster/contactless card at 4.90GBP ($9.30).
Tokyo’s public transportation may seem a little overwhelming at first, but this is only because it has one of the most expansive systems in the world. It is fast, clean, and really affordable. Trains rule in this city, and you can get to almost every corner of the city by rail. See the lovely Imperial Palace from Otemachi, the gorgeous Meiji Shrine from Harajuku, or the buzzing nightlife by stopping off at Shinjuku.
Like London, you can get a city-travel card, called the Pasmo or the Suica, which can also be used across all major cities in Japan, such as Osaka and Kyoto. Single fares on the metro are between 170-310JPY ($2.30-4.10), or 600JPY ($8) for a day pass.
Shanghai has an incredibly reliable and convenient public transportation system. Originally, the city’s system was modelled after New York’s, but it has since surpassed the Big Apple, thanks to its commitment to modernisation.
Shanghai has one of the largest metropolitan populations in the world, and its public transportation services continue to expand to meet its needs. Take the train to the historic Bund, shop down Nanjing Road, or escape the busy city in the delightful Yu Garden, all via the metro. Best of all, travelling on Shanghai’s buses and metro system is super affordable. Single fares will cost you between 3-9RMB (60c-$1.90) depending on how far you travel.
New York, USA
Sure, the USA isn’t really known for its public transport, but New York is different. Yes, the subway system is a bit rundown and you may not want to touch anything when you’re down there, but no one can deny that this is still one of the best public transport systems in the world.
New York’s public transport services are also the easiest way to get around this city and see some of its best attractions, like Times Square, Central Park, and the Empire State Building. A single ride ticket for a local bus or the subway costs 3USD ($3.40), or 2.75USD ($4) if you get a MetroCard. The MetroCard is convenient and cheaper overall. Plus, you can get a pay-as-you-go card, or unlimited 7-day or 30-day MetroCards.
Madrid is very tourist friendly thanks to its easy-to-use and comprehensive public transport. The metro, light rail and buses are all linked, with over 60% of the options being wheelchair accessible. Added to that, the transport is considered efficient and comfortable.
As the city is so well-linked, you won’t need to worry about how you’re getting to attractions like the Plaza Mayor, the Royal Palace, or the wonderful Prado Museum. Tickets are very reasonable too, with a single journey only costing 1.50EUR ($2.40). You can also spring for a 10-journey ticket, which works out cheaper at 12.20EUR ($19.80).
Another European heavy hitter is the city of Paris, whose public transport is excellent. If you want to zip from Sacre Ceour to the Eiffel Tower, or from the Latin Quarter to the Bastille, you can just hop on the city’s expansive metro system.
You’ll also be able to enjoy staying out late, since many of the lines stay open almost 24 hours, and are renowned for being really safe. A single ticket is 1.90EUR ($3.10), or you can get a package of 10 tickets for 16.90EUR ($27.40). However, if you use the new Navigo Easy travel card, this drops to 14.90EUR ($24.15).
All information valid as of December 2019