Public transportation helps communities to cut down on traffic congestion, protect the environment, and reduce accidents. While many cities around the world now have extensive mass transit systems, not all systems are created equal. Some are showing the effects of age and others are simply not yet broad enough to provide communities with maximum returns. Here are some of the world’s best mass transit systems based on such factors as services, ridership, and cost.

7. New York

While many New Yorker’s curse NYC subway system, the fact is that it’s the largest and most extensive mass transit system in the world. The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) operates 660 miles of track, through 24 lines that serve 468 stations. Subways run 24 hours a day, serving 1.76 billion riders each year at a cost of approximately $2.75 per ride. he MTA is currently working on raising the $32 billion needed for upgrades to its aging infrastructure through 2019.

Empty_subway_in_NYC

6. London

London’s Tube is the world’s original underground rail system, now over 150 years old. Yes, there have been recent upgrades to the 250-mile system that serves 270 stations and nearly 1.3 billion annual passengers. Look for an upcoming addition of Crossrail and enhanced Thameslink services from this unique system with loads of character. If you have an “Oyster Card,” a ride is approximately $3.60.

5. Paris

Paris not only has an extensive underground (300 stations), but it is stylish as well. Roam the city centre, and you’ll always be within 500m of a Metro station that is decorated with art nouveau and floral entrances. The Metro line extends 133 miles, serves over 1.5 billion annual passengers, and costs about $2.00 per ride.

4. Beijing

If you travel to China, you’ll find that modern mass transit systems are going up in most of this country’s major cities. Currently, the largest to date is in Beijing, where $0.30 will get you a ride on a modern train that stretches 289 miles, with 232 stations. Beijing’s system serves over 3.4 billion passengers each year. Shanghai’s mass transit system, just 20 years old, is already serving 7 million passengers daily.

1280px-The_train_of_Airport_Line,_Beijing_Subway

3. Tokyo

If efficiency is what matters to you in a mass transit system, don’t pass up an opportunity to use the Tokyo Metro in the Japanese capital city. Not only are trains on time, but the line is also known for its consideration and cleanliness. This massive system has over 800 stations, serving 3.2 billion riders per year at just $1.37 per ride. Just one station, Shinjuku, has been certified by Guinness World Records as serving the most passengers per day at 3.6 million.

2. Hong Kong

Another mass transit system known for its punctuality, Hong Kong’s system has a 99.9% on-time record. The city’s Mass Transit Railway (MTR) has been running since 1979 and now serves 157 stations stretching 135.6 miles. The MTR is also considered one of the world’s most profitable mass transit systems, acting as a model for many of the mass transit systems in mainland China. The MTR serves over 1.6 billion passengers annually.

1. Seoul

Many now view the South Korean’s capital’s subway system as one of the best in the world. Seoul’s subway now stretches over 600 miles, with 19 lines that serve nearly 300 stations. The system has a ridership of over 2.5 billion passengers each year, who pay less than $1.00 per ride. Just a few of Seoul’s mass transit appeals include its clean cars, efficiency, and extensive use of smart tickets.