In major cities, subway systems have been considered to be one of the most popular and preferred means of transportation among commuters and tourists all around the world. They have been around since 1863 and the main purpose of these systems was to provide a cheap and fast way as well as reducing the traffic congestions, as well as providing transportation for cities with a large population.
They are cost-effective and fast, however, some of them stand out from the crowd due to their punctuality, architecture, cheap fares, cleanliness, while others stand out for the exact opposite. Take a look at our picks for 5 best and 5 worst subway systems in the world.
10 Best: Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway
When you think of the best subway systems in the world, you immediately think of the one in Hong Kong. Not only is it cheap but it is one of the cleanest, most organized, subway systems in the world. It has free Wi-FI in every station and facilities for people with disabilities.
During peak periods, trains show up more often, as some stations may get ridiculously crowded. It is also really easy to get tickets via the automated machine and their website contains every information that a tourist should know when visiting Hong Kong.
9 Worst: Los Angeles subway system, United States of America
Shifting our attention to subway systems that stand out for all the wrong reasons. Los Angeles subway systems have been considered to be one of the worst. Commuters are affected in terms of cost-effectiveness and ineffective in terms of reaching important destinations. Furthermore, due to the high number of earthquakes that occur in Los Angeles annually, this means of transportation is considered to be dangerous. Nevertheless, opinions are split among locals and tourists when it comes to how effective this subway system really is.
8 Best: Moscow’s Metro System, Russia.
If there would be an award for the most grandiose and elegant subway systems in the world, Moscow would take the prize. Opened in 1935 this subway system, which is the 5th longest in the world guarantees a travel experience that one will not easily forget. The marble columns, frescoes, chandeliers make it seem like you are stopping at a soviet museum and not a subway station. Not to mention overall cleanliness which is a „must” when having such beautiful historically rich stations. In contrast, the prices are very cheap compared to New York or other major cities and it's a "must-see" attraction if you are visiting Moscow.
7 Worst: New York City subway system, the United States of America
New York City has the biggest subway system in the world which runs 24/7 all year round. It has been built in 1907, however, in time, it has become to be known as one of the worst subway systems in the world.
The reasons that have given this iconic subway system’s such a bad reputation are the high risk of getting robbed or assaulted, the lack of cleanliness, the constant delays of the trains, increased fares for tickets as well as the noise. The overall system is old and breaks down very often which is a key reason for the delays and a stress factor for commuters.
6 Best: Singapore’s MRT, Singapore
While not as spectacular as the previous one, Singapore’s MRT has been recognized to be one of the most environmentally and energy-friendly subway system in the world. The subway station is preferred by tourists who visit Singapore since all the attractions are within walking distance from the station. It is considered to be one of the busiest subway systems in the world as well, however, this does not affect the punctuality of the trains. Tourists can obtain a Singapore Tourist Pass (STP) for a low price, so that they may enjoy this experience to its full extent.
5 Worst: São Paulo Subway system, Brazil
Much like in New York, São Paulo’s subway system is considered to be unsafe during the night. It is a modern means of transportation, however, tourists have stated that it should be avoided during rush hours as it can get really crowded. The subway system is pretty small for such a big city. Also, from a cost-effectiveness perspective, it is considered to be quite expensive compared to the overall financial state of the commuters. However, many tourists think that this is a modern system, and prefer using it when visiting São Paulo.
4 Best: Stockholm Tunnel Rail, Sweden
Much like in Moscow, the Stockholm subway system is famous for its splendid stations and is one of the city's attractions. They resemble caves which are mesmerizing and constitute one of the main means of transportation for the tourists who visit the city. The stations have been called by tourists the world’s longest art galleries due to the impressive paintings and sculptures. One would think that the above-mentioned reasons would have a large impact on the ticket prices however they are very cheap and affordable for anyone who decides to visit the city.
3 Worst: Minneapolis Subway system, the United States of America
A general reason for the complaints regarding this subway system is the lack of public safety on certain subway lines, the lack of cleanliness and the lack of proper services such as food and drinks and also the lack of alternative means of transportation from the subway stations. It is advised by locals to use the busses rather than the train, even though recently security has improved in order to reduce the crime and ensure public safety. The tickets are not that expensive and the stations and trains are considered fairly clean.
2 Best: Athens Metro, Greece
Greece is recognized for having one of the most interesting and intricate historical cultures in the world as well as a variety of tourists visiting the cities. Athens subway system can be considered to be another museum due to the archeological sites which have been discovered when excavations have been made during its construction. Descending into the stations certainly looks like descending into a chapter of Greece’s history. Much like the above-mentioned systems the fares are cheap considering the fact that tourists that use this means of transportation are also experiencing a historical adventure.
1 Worst: Tokyo subway system, Japan
Tokyo’s subway system is considered to be one of the most complicated and intricate systems in the world. The system is considered to be poorly designed for tourists as it can get confusing and way too complicated. For certain destinations, tourists might find that they have to pay an extra fee due to the fact that certain lines are private. The tickets are fairly expensive, and it can get very crowded especially in the morning and in the evening. Furthermore, there are a few signs that are in English and this can get very confusing for a tourist.