Ranking the World’s Mass Transit Systems

Have you ever wondered what the best mass transit systems in the world are?  Most New Yorkers would agree that we do not have the cleanest system in the world, nor the most efficient system given recent MTA service cuts and constant construction.  However New York certainly does have the busiest and more efficient public transit system in the US.  One way of ranking mass transit is by scheme volume of passengers. The following list from Wikipedia ranks the busiest systems by annual ridership:

  1. Japan Tokyo Subway 3.160 billion (2009)
  2. Russia Moscow Metro 2.392 billion (2009)
  3. South Korea Seoul Subway2.048 billion (2009)
  4. People's Republic of China Beijing Subway 1.595 billion (2010)
  5. United States New York City Subway 1.579 billion (2009)
  6. France Paris Métro 1.479 billion (2009)
  7. Mexico Mexico City Metro 1.414 billion (2009)
  8. Hong Kong Hong Kong MTR 1.41 billion (2010)
  9. People's Republic of China Shanghai Metro 1.3 billion (2009)
  10. People's Republic of China Guangzhou Metro 1.18 billion (2010)

Perhaps annual ridership though is not the best way to compare systems, since so many systems may be efficient but they can not cover operating costs.  The following ticket price comparison from This Big City, shows London as the most expensive but also one of the very few systems that covers operating costs.  This Big City also notes that out the 135 metro corporations in the world, only four are making operational profits: Singapore, Taipei, Hong Kong and Delhi.

Besides being one of the few profitable systems in the world, Hong Kong’s MTR also has over 7 million daily riders and 90% of all traveling within the city is done by mass transit.  After traveling quite frequently on the MTR in January, and after also experiencing transit systems in New York, Washington DC, Boston, Singapore, Manila, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Curitiba, Sao Paulo and Delhi, I have to agree with Environmental Graffiti by also ranking Hong Kong’s MTR as the best mass transit system in the world.  (Of course though I am not a mass transit expert!)

- Melissa

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One thought on “Ranking the World’s Mass Transit Systems

  1. Pingback: 2011 Year in Review | Encountering Urbanization

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