Guest Post: Top 8 Public Transit-Friendly Cities Around the World, from Tokio Marine HCC

Published: July 12, 2016

Guest post from Bree Weidman, Marketing Specialist at Tokio Marine HCC – MIS Group

While traveling abroad, one main concern is, “How am I going to get around this city easily?” Public transportation is a vital part of city life and this list will give you all the details on how to make your experience as smooth and cheap as possible. These eight cities from around the world rank high in the quality and price of their public transit systems.

 1. New York City, New York

New York is a bustling city with many sites to explore. With so many people visiting every day, public transportation is now used by nearly everyone, including the locals. The subway is the top form of travel because it is cheap and accesses many of the important locations visitors wish to see during their stay. Famous sites include Central Park, Times Square, and Madison Square Garden.

Types: The Metro (Subway), Buses, & Trains

Cost: The New York Metro Card is $2.50 for a single ride or $29.00 for seven days. These can be purchased at vending machines near the stations. This grants you access to the subway, which reaches across the city and boasts the most stations of any subway line in the world.

2. Paris, France

Paris, the City of Love, is a popular destination for visitors looking for romance. It is also one of the best locations to see famous works of art such as the “Mona Lisa” in The Louvre. The Metro is the most-used form of transit to many of the popular spots and is easy to get to from most anywhere within the city’s limits. Even if you get turned around, the Metro is likely to be right around the corner.

Types: The Metro (Subway), Trams, Buses, & Trains

Cost: Purchase a Paris Visite Pass for around €37.00 for three days, which covers all your transportation costs such as buses, the Metro, and trams within central Paris (zones 1 – 3). 

3. London, England

Also a hotspot for tourists, London boasts a variety of fashion shops and intriguing historical sites. Visit “Big Ben,” the old clock tower, or travel to Westminster Abbey and feed your inner history buff. Maybe swing by Buckingham Palace to say “Hello” to the royal family. Whatever sites make up your itinerary, you’re sure to find easy access to all of them via public transit.

The London Underground opened in 1863, making it the oldest underground system in the world. Unique from other cities, it has intriguing station names such as the “Elephant.”

Types: London Underground (Tube), Docklands Light Railway, Trains, & Buses

Cost: Think about purchasing an Oyster Travelcard, which costs £1.50 for the bus or just £2.40 for the Tube. Children can travel for free or at a discounted price. 

4. Beijing, China

China is a land of herbal medicines and beautiful architecture dating back hundreds of years. The country is full of ancient traditions, and the buildings must be seen to be believed, like the Temple of Heaven in the Chongwen District. Beijing offers multiple forms of transport as well as many guided tours in various languages. Be sure to try out the local cuisine, such as their famous roast duck, or go more casual and grab a street-side dumpling.

Types: Bullet Train, Subway, & Taxis

Cost: Think about renting a Beijing Smart Card, which can be used on all of the subway trains, the Airport Express Train, city buses, and some taxis. This works as a prepaid card since you have to reload it at certain stations around the city. 

5. Berlin, Germany

Once a place of turmoil, Berlin is rich in culture and history. Many flock to the Berlin Wall Memorial where the wall was torn down in 1989. Now, the city has advanced in technology and become a hub for businesses around the world. It has also become a cultural hub for rising artists. Locals and tourists alike enjoy the cuisine which includes apfelstrudel (apple strudel) and bratwursts with sauerkraut, to name a few favorites.

Types: Subway (U-Bahn), Street Rails (S-Bahn), Buses, Trams, & Ferries

Cost: A one-way ticket on the subway is as cheap as € 1,70 and € 4,70 for a day ticket. A ticket is validated by a stamp which will be checked at each new form of transportation. Fares are consistent across most of the transportation platforms but will vary depending on the time of day and which part of the city you are traveling within.

6. Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.

Known in popular culture as the setting for the television show, Portlandia, Portland has always been known as a hub for quirky individuals and aspiring artists. It’s a place where city life and nature coexist, with modern architecture and arboretums dotting the maps. A popular attraction is the Hoyt Arboretum – which conserves endangered species – located just outside the city center.

Here, society has moved towards a more green way of living, which means you’ll find more bikes than cars. The Trimet, the main transit system, includes all the modes of transport provided within city limits.

Types: Bikes, Streetcars, Buses, & the MAX Lightrail

Cost: Students within Portland receive free transportation and young children receive discounted fares. Due to the popularity of bikes, public schools even give a 12-week-long bike safety class. A day pass for Trimet is $5 and a 7-day pass is $26. 

7. Munich, Germany

The best time to visit Munich is early September when Oktoberfest begins. This festival is a time for beer lovers around the world to tour the various beer gardens and sample local brews. If you’re searching for a more high-tech scene, Munich is revamping itself as the “Silicon Valley” of Germany with its media and aerospace industries. The MVV, Munich’s transit authority, runs all public transportation throughout the city.  

Types: Subway (U-Bahn), Street Rails (S-Bahn), Buses, & Trams

Cost: The approximate fare for a single day ticket is € 6,40 and € 16,00 for three days. These tickets are valid until 6AM the following day. The districts and prices are color-coded on the maps for easy use.

8. Seoul, South Korea

Home to K-pop legends and a fast-paced modernized Korean fashion community, Seoul is popular for entertainment industries. It is also home to the Seoul subway, which is the longest subway in the world, moving across twelve districts. The trains arrive every 2-5 minutes which makes commuting during rush hour easy. The buses are color-coded to reveal which line they run on. The lines and routes can be found on the bus map which is also color-coded and user-friendly.

Types: Subway, KTX railway, & Buses

Cost: The average cost of a subway ticket is between 1,250 and 2,000 won. A T-money card can be purchased and recharged and includes a 10% discount. The money on the card can be refunded if not used before you leave. A bus ticket is around 1,200 won.

Important Tips & Information:

While trying to learn a new city as you navigate the people rushing onto the Metro or underground railways, remember to always be aware of your surroundings. Be sure to keep a hand on your purse or bag, and try not to leave your wallet in your back pocket. 

Also, make sure to check the hours of certain public transports, which can usually be found on the maps or at the station itself. Many change by the day, or have shortened hours on a Sunday. It is best to be flexible and plan your time accordingly. The types of transportation listed for each city are the most popular modes in that area.

For more tips and tricks on how to make your traveling stress-free, check out our Ultimate Guide to International Travel.

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