Cities with the Best Public Transportation

Are you thinking about ditching your car and banking on the bus and subway? Hey, it’s a great idea. It’s healthier, cheaper and safer (in terms of avoiding accidents, tickets and, gulp, DUIs). It’s also a great way to avoid the stress of a traffic-trapped commute.

However, not all cities have public transit. And for many of those that do, the public transit options are so poor that nobody uses them. These cities tend to rely solely on buses, which are often more time-consuming that just sitting in traffic.

If you want to move to a place with good public transit, your choices will be decidedly limited. Here are our top 10 cities with the best public transportation:

New York City – Its subway runs 24/7 and gets people from point A to point anywhere. Buses aren’t even necessary, though they’re there, as are trains. New York’s public transit system is tops in the US, and possibly the world. Over half of its population uses it on a daily basis to avoid driving, which is stunning, considering the next closest US city sees that number drop to roughly 1/3.

Washington D.C. – Washington, D.C.’s subway system is well-known as one of the world’s best and most extensive. The city also has Amtrak and a commuter rail known as MARC. In Washington, more people use public transit than anywhere else in the U.S., besides New York.

San Francisco / Oakland – San Francisco and nearby Oakland share the train/subway system known as BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). It is the lifeblood for many SF and East Bay dwellers, as well as people who fly into SFO and Oakland Int’l. SF is also fed by Caltrain, which runs all the way to San Jose, and the city has its own bus/subway system known as Muni. The city gets bonus points for its ferries and famous (albeit unduly expensive) trollies. Unfortunately, SF loses points, because every option besides the bus ends by 12:30 am.

Chicago – Chicago is serviced by Amtrak, which provides fast commuter service into the city from the outer suburbs. Once downtown, Chicago has a solid bus system and the L (short for elevated), an above-ground rail system. Chicago’s L-Train is famous for its very visible metal tracks, which run through the city’s center.

Phoenix – Phoenix makes not because its public transit system is particularly helpful, but rather because the city is leading the way for Sun Belt cities to ween themselves off of highway-centric layouts. Phoenix is dominated by highways, however, within the last five years, it introduced a light rail system that connects Scottsdale to Tempe to downtown Phoenix, the metro’s densest urban areas. The system is affordable, clean and reasonably fast, and it’s being expanded to other key areas (namely Westgate). Also, it stays open past 2:00 am, allowing residents to safely get from bar to bed. The system has rewarded the city’s efforts – it’s consistently breaking its own records for ridership.

Portland – Portland, like Phoenix, has a light rail system (MAX); however, its system is arguably even more extensive, and it gets people to the airport. It is also serviced by Amtrak, which is very useful for getting to Seattle.

Boston – Boston’s subway, train and bus system is very extensive, and has proven helpful to commuters for decades.

Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh has a subway/light rail system that feeds into the downtown area from the suburbs. It also has inclines, which carry people down surrounding hills toward the lower downtown area.

Philadelphia – Philadelphia, like Boston, has had a subway, train and bus system for many decades. It is firmly established as a great place for public transit, whether you’re going in city or out of it.

Cleveland – Cleveland had a heyday that saw it create four train routes, a trolly system and a bus system. Those systems all remain in effect today, bringing people from the outer suburbs into the city, and helping them get around once down there.

About Devie Lin

Read blogs written by Devie Lin and find information related to moving & relocation on the Moving Blog by Moving Guru.
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