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Infograph: The NYC subway versus subways around the world

The NYC subway is the largest, the longest, and hey—it’s cheaper than London’s. See how the NYC subway compares to others around the globe.

New Yorkers like to boast that the NYC subway system is the best in the world (even as we complain about how crummy it is in the very next breath), but how accurate is that claim? As it turns out, the NYC subway truly is the world’s best—it’s the longest, it has the most lines, and as far as cost…well, hey, it’s no London tube, at least. See how the NYC subway stacks up with this handy infograph.

RECOMMENDED: All public transportation in NYC

Comments

26 comments
Ammon A
Ammon A

This is definately missing the Moscow Metro, very incomplete.

keelan k
keelan k

Whoever made this info graphic didn't do much research.   The New York metro system isn't REMOTELY close to the length and size of Tokyo's rail system nor is any other city's.  What people don't understand this that Tokyo's Metro system is made of over several dozen different operators one of which just happens to be named "Tokyo Metro".  Tokyo Metro is not the name of the Tokyo transit system.  That is literally just the name of a SINGLE rail company that operates in Tokyo.  The problem is almost every single article on the subject makes this same mistake.  As of this year Tokyo has 148 different rail lines, 2200 stations (closer to 1,500 if you count true stand alone stations) run by 48 different operators with 2,900mi of track and carrying 40 million passengers PER DAY.  


New York's rail system by comparison isn't even in the same universe.  Heck there is a SINGLE line in Tokyo that carries as many passengers per day as 60% of the entire New York Metro system combined. 


As for the little smear "fact" on groping in Japan go look at the actual crime stats.  New York's violent crime rate, including sexual assault, is 7-10 TIMES higher than that of Tokyo.  This rail fact about Tokyo is actually a testament to how insanely safe their metro system.  Crime is so non-existent that groping is their only hot topic issue....even when statistically it happens at a fraction of the rate of New York subway crime.  

Adam B
Adam B

@keelan k Umm, you need to do your research. NYC's subway has tons and tons of miles of tracks, you just did not bother to do research yourself.

Adam B
Adam B

@keelan k " New York's violent crime rate, including sexual assault, is 7-10 TIMES higher than that of Tokyo.  " - New York City actually has low crime rates, and its homicide rate is low. What the hell are you talking about? Do some research. New York City has a large and efficient police force.

John B
John B

New York and the US in general have a SIGNIFICANTLY higher violent crime rate than other developed countries so it is you that needs to do the research - don't be a typical ignorant American. I have lived in New York and now in London and the difference is astounding. The New York subway is dirty, old, has mainly outdated trains, the stations are terrible (full of columns, dark, dirty, smelly), half the stations don't even have countdown clocks so you don't even know what train is coming - it's far behind. Also, the NY subway uses an archaic swipe fare card (are we still in the 70s??). In London you can tap in with your "oyster" card, tap your credit/debit card (although the US is a decade behind in banking technology and are only now just getting contactless and Chip-and-Pin technology so I suppose this method is not even an option for the subway) or you can tap in with your iPhone or Apple Watch using Apple Pay. This article hardly compares subway systems around the world either. The Chicago El? That isn't even a real transit system in world terms, and LA metro is 80% made of light rail. Stupid comparisons. The sad fact is that for all the good things that the US has, transport infrastructure is not one of them, especially mass transit and airports...

Miles B
Miles B

@Adam B The NYC subway has a lot of track and stations, but Tokyo's rail transport network has more. Subway only accounts for about 25% of it, and Tokyo Metro in particular only about 15%. The complete network is far vaster.

Unfortunately many people used to smaller more homogenous networks get confused and think Tokyo Metro is somehow the entire system, but it's not even close.

There's a reason that rail is Tokyo's main mode of transport....

peterfeltham2
peterfeltham2

New Yorkers are becoming  incredibly defensive about their great city and any criticism of it is met with a disdain similar not unlike that shown by the British if one dares criticise the queen.

Alex O
Alex O

@peterfeltham2 Go ahead, criticize the Queen and you'll find most Brits couldn't give a toss!

Phillip W
Phillip W

Shanghai and Beijing's subways are longer than any Western subway

Adam B
Adam B

@Phillip W  NY Subway is the largest rapid transit system in the world by number of stations, with 468 stations in operation (421, if stations connected by transfers are counted as single stations).

Jeffrey C
Jeffrey C

Yeah but you didn't mention HOW CLEAN the Chicago, LA, Tokyo, London, subway systems are compared to the dingy ass NYC subway where every line's trains need a powerwash, along with each and every station. Especially the Bedford stop which is terribly dirty and smelly.

Rolfen
Rolfen

Nice work. Thanks for briging the attention to the London "tourist trap", although to be fair, it's not exactly a tourist trap, but a highly inflated price to discourage people from going into zone 1 (except for regular commuters who can buy a monthly ticket), especially during peak time, since it's highly congested. London being an expensive city to start, it results in such prices. During off-peak times (not when everyone is going to, or leaving work), you can go from zone 2 to zone 6, which is a 1:15 h journey, for about $ 2-2.5. Anyway, I'd have liked to see Berlin here. Berlin has a very simple fare system - only 3 zones, which can be expensive for short trips, but is overall cheap. And, since we're talking, how about Cairo?

Jin
Jin

NYC subways are cheap. The cost of the subway for Tokyo is grossly underestimated. The price in the graphic is the price to ride for one or two stations. If you want to ride further, the price goes up by another 20 or so cents every couple stations. You can easily get a ride that's $4-5. If you're going from one end to the other end of Tokyo, it'll cost you over $10.

MTF
MTF

1. It's funny that you included LA in this. Why? 2. DC's Metro has the 2nd highest annual subway ridership in the US, but it's not included? 3. I question that you've actually traveled on many cities' subway systems. Had you done so, NY would not be the Best on this. 4. This really should be an "Infograph".

ysc
ysc

Where's Shanghai's Subway?

Agnia_Barto
Agnia_Barto

How come there is nothing about Moscow? Moscow subway is the third largest in the world after Tokyo and Seoul.

NYCMAD
NYCMAD

Have you seen Madrid's subway system?? it's clean ( trains and stations), super fast, cellphone service all over the system even in tunnels, trains are super modern and a lot of stations are equiped for disabled persons and single ride is 1,50 €...

Irishital
Irishital

While NYC subway certainly is not perfect your comments Laura about it being filthy and dangerous are NOT warranted! Girl, you must not have been here in the 80;s!!! Of course China is going to be waaay cheaper - people make a lot less money I'm sure. Still $2.50 to go all over the system is a deal! Considering how many people ride it every day and its age, it's pretty efficient.

Janelle
Janelle

I would love to see Stockholm's subway system on here to compare.. one of the best I've seen! I was actually quite pissed that a subway system could be so punctual, clean and thorough....

HEYOO
HEYOO

You can't call it a comparison of the world's metro systems if you only picked metro systems primarily in North America, and two in Europe. That is not the world, and shouldn't be referred to as such. Hong Kong, Shanghai and now countless other cities in China--Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Beijing, to name a few--not to mention Seoul, S. Korea--have extensive metro systems, with Shanghai's as the second longest in the world, and a daily ridership of an average 7 million people. Maybe rethink the research here for comparison sake.

Phillip W
Phillip W

@HEYOO  Shangahi's subway became the world's longest before 2010.

Laura
Laura

You forgot China. Or at least Hong Kong. New York the best, are you kidding?? The stations (and, usually, trains themselves) are filthy, old, dangerous — subways in Asia have cell phone signal even in tunnels, thick sliding glass doors to prevent people from jumping, timers on most lines to show when trains are coming, waaay cheaper fares, plus the stations are pristine because they're so new. NYC might be the best if you've literally never ridden another subway system......

Adam B
Adam B

@Laura "The stations (and, usually, trains themselves) are filthy, old, dangerous " You do not know what you are talking about. 


"dangerous"  "And by the way, have you seen the number of incidents of people dying in China's metros, by getting stuck in the doors that don't let them get out? Do some research.


", thick sliding glass doors to prevent people from jumping," - As said above, those doors HAVE KILLED PEOPLE. Research! Do it: "A 33-year-old woman was killed yesterday after she got stuck between a Metro train door and the screen barrier on the platform."

Alex O
Alex O

@Adam B Spent 5 years living in Manhattan and making extensive use of the subway. While there is some renovation ongoing, much of the NY subway is pretty foul. It's not as bad as it was the first time I was in NYC in the early 90s but it's still pretty bad. The signage remains poor, there are few maps once you're inside a station - especially one of the larger ones, so if you are not familiar with the system it can be quite a headache to figure out where you need to go. One of my pet peeves is the 1 train switching to express randomly so you have to get off and stand around on another dirty crowded platform just when you thought you were on your way home.