Where would we be without public transport? Our world is increasingly dominated by cities that grow by the day, and more and more of us are realising that ever-rising car traffic is bad news for us, our towns and the planet. In this context, trains, buses and trams are the unsung heroes that could literally save the world.
Sure, a crowded bus on the morning commute isn’t exactly the dream travel experience. But when it comes to exploring the world’s greatest cities, it’s all about hopping a train or bus and discovering the city through the eyes of a local. And a few of the world’s best public transport networks even double up as cultural treasure hunts, making the mundane spectacular with sublime art and design.
To identify the cities with the world’s greatest public transport, we surveyed more than 20,000 city-dwellers around the world, in more than 50 cities. We asked simply: is it easy to get around your city by public transport? And in the cities featured below, at least four out of five locals had good things to say about their city’s public transportation network.
Many iconic networks didn’t quite make the cut. There is no room for Istanbul’s continent-crossing ferries, the fairytale trams of Lisbon, Melbourne and Manchester, or Bangkok’s elevated Skytrain.
But the cities that were included spanned the whole globe, from Montreal to Mumbai and Stockholm to Shanghai – and even the USA. These are the cities with the world’s best public transport, according to locals.