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December 11, 2021

The train, metro, subway or subway is a high capacity public transportation system generally found in urban areas. These transportation networks help people around the world get from one place to another quickly and safely without paying for vehicle parking. In London, United Kingdom, 1.35 billion people ride the subway each year.

The question arises: what makes one subway system better than another? The criteria are broad, ranging from a low carbon footprint to good signage and climate control. Of course, there are also technical aspects such as safe and efficient operating systems and reliable telecommunications systems.

Read on to find out what the different metro systems around the world have to offer.

1. Hong Kong's MTR system, Hong Kong.

The Mass Transit Railway is a major public transportation network for Hong Kong. It is operated by MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) and consists of an 11-line rapid transit network serving the metropolitan areas of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories. The system currently comprises 218.2 km of rail network with 159 stations, including 91 elevated stations and 68 light rail stops. The MTR is one of the most profitable metro systems in the world; in 2015, it had a cost recovery ratio of 187 percent, the highest in the world. It's hard to dispute that Hong Kong's Mass Transit Railway deserves this first place. For one thing, it's just 30 years old, which means it's wonderfully modern, with Wi-Fi, automated ticketing systems and smart sensors that keep track of train times. And because it's so new, it's been thoughtfully designed to efficiently transport people from every corner of this densely populated city.

2. London Underground, England, United Kingdom (UK).

The London Underground is a public rapid transit system serving London, England and some parts of the neighboring counties of Buckinghamshire, Essex and Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom.

The Underground has its origins in the Metropolitan Railway, the world's first underground passenger railroad. It opened in January 1863 and is now part of the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines; the first line to operate with electric trains in 1890, the City & South London Railway, is now part of the Northern Line. The network has been expanded to 11 lines and carried 1.357 billion passengers in 2017/18.

This 150-year-old Underground system was the first in the world, opening in 1863. But just because it's a few years older than Hong Kong's MTR doesn't mean it doesn't have some of the same modern amenities. It is now air-conditioned, and many stations are equipped with WiFi. The ticketing system has been replaced with contactless card payments, and the network extends beyond London to Essex and Buckinghamshire.

3. Tokyo Underground, Japan.

The Tokyo Subway is part of the extensive rapid transit system consisting of the Tokyo Metro and the Toei Subway in the Tokyo metropolitan area in Japan. While most of the subway system itself is located within the city center, the lines extend far outward through extensive transit service on suburban rail lines.

Tokyo's subway system is arguably the most punctual in the world. It's like clockwork. But it's not just the trains that are efficient. The design of the stations - with maps on the walls and all signs in English and Japanese - makes it incredibly pleasant for passengers.

4. Moscow Metro System, Russia.

The Moscow Metro is a rapid transit system serving Moscow, Russia, and the neighboring cities of Krasnogorsk, Reutov, Lyubertsy, and Kotelniki in Moscow Oblast. It opened in 1935 with 11 kilometers of track and 13 stations and was the first underground rail system in the Soviet Union. As of 2018, the Moscow Metro, excluding the Moscow Central Circle and the Moscow Monorail, has 224 stations (255 with the Moscow Central Circle) and is the fifth longest in the world with a line length of 381 km. The system is mostly underground, with the deepest section at 84 meters at Park Pobedy station among the deepest in the world. It is the busiest metro system in Europe and a tourist attraction in its own right.

If this were an award for aesthetics, Moscow would have taken first place. With their marble interiors, gold fixtures and ornate arches, the metro stations look more like palaces or art museums than a platform for boarding a high-speed train.

Of course, the train system itself is also world-class. The Moscow Metro follows the city's natural circular structure and has 14 lines that crisscross the city and extend beyond the city limits, making it one of the longest (and busiest) metro systems in the world.

5. Seoul Metropolitan Subway, South Korea.

The Seoul Metropolitan Subway is an urban rail system consisting of 22 rapid transit, light rail, commuter rail, and people mover lines in northwestern South Korea. The system serves most of the Seoul metropolitan area, including the Incheon metropolitan area and satellite cities in Gyeonggi Province. Some regional lines of the network extend to rural areas in northern Chungnam Province and western Gangwon Province, more than 100 km from the capital, and Suwon

The Seoul metropolitan subway is even more modern than Japan's, with amenities like heated seats that don't even exist in most cars. And with over 1 million passengers a day, many people enjoy these amenities.

But despite the amenities offered by modern technology, the metro's service is limited, closing at or before midnight seven days a week.

6. MRT in Singapore, Singapore

The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is a rapid transit system that forms the bulk of the rail network in Singapore and covers most of the city-state. The first section of the MRT between Toa Payoh and Yio Chu Kang was opened on November 7, 1987. Since then, the network has grown rapidly in line with Singapore's goal to develop a comprehensive rail network as the backbone of Singapore's public transport system. In 2018, it averaged 3.501 million passengers per day (including Light Rail Transit (LRT)), which is about 87% of the 4.037 million passengers on the bus network during the same period.

It is one of the most environmentally friendly, sustainable, clean, and efficient systems in the world. And according to a 2018 McKinsey report, it is also one of the safest, most convenient, and most affordable systems.

7. Paris Metro, France

The Paris MĂ©tro is a rapid transit system in the Paris metropolitan area, France. It is a symbol of the city and is known for its density within the city limits, its unified architecture, and its unique Art Nouveau-influenced entrances. It is mostly underground and 214 kilometers long. It has 302 stations, 62 of which offer transfers between lines. There are 16 lines, numbered 1 through 14, with two lines, 3bis and 7bis, so named because they were initially like branches of lines 3 and 7; later they officially became separate lines, but the Metro is still numbered as if these lines did not exist. The lines are identified on the maps by number and color, and the direction of travel is indicated by the terminus. With 210 kilometers of track, the Paris Metro is crammed into an area of only 87 square kilometers, yet it is one of the busiest rail systems in the world.

What makes the Paris Metro so charming and undeniably Parisian is also what puts it at the bottom of this list. It lacks modern amenities, and by that we don't mean heated seats like in Seoul. Many weddings don't even have automatic closing doors, which means efficiency is lacking and an upgrade might be in order.

8. New York City's Subway, United States (US).

The New York City Subway is a rapid transit system owned by the City of New York and leased to the New York City Transit Authority, a subsidiary of the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). Opened in 1904, the New York City Subway is one of the oldest public transit systems in the world, one of the busiest subway systems in the world, and the subway system with the most stations. It operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year, although some routes are only operated part-time.

Yes! The New York City subway is dirty, noisy and outdated. But did you know it runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year? No wonder New York City is affectionately known as the city that never sleeps!

Plus, with more than 450 stations (many of which are adorned with graffiti), the subway is extensive, fares are cheap and, perhaps best of all, it saves you hours of traffic jams.

9. Stockholm Tunnel Rail, Sweden.

The Stockholm Metro is a mass transit system in the Swedish capital. The first line opened in 1950, and today the system has 100 stations, of which 47 are underground and 53 are above ground. There are three main colored lines on the subway maps. Lines 17, 18 and 19 (which are part of the green main line), 13 and 14 (red main line), and 10 and 11 (blue main line) all run through the center of Stockholm in a very centralized subway system. All seven lines use the main station, T-Centralen. Apart from this central metro station, there is only one other hub, Fridhemsplan station, although the green and red lines are connected via Slussen and Gamla Stan stations. Stockholm's tunnel railroad made it onto this list in part because of its beautiful stations, which are more reminiscent of rocks and caves than an underground transportation hub like the Moscow Metro. The stations themselves offer opportunities to explore the city's culture and history.

10. Athens Metro, Greece

The Athens Metro is a mass transit system in Greece that serves the greater Athens area and parts of eastern Attica. It includes the former Athens-Piraeus Electric Railways (ISAP), which opened in 1869 as a conventional steam railroad and was electrified in 1904, and is now part of Line 1. From 1991 Attiko Metro built and extended lines 2 and 3, and from 2000 to 2011 Attiko Metro Operations Company (AMEL) operated these lines.

It is literally a museum. Excavating the tracks for the metro through the ancient city uncovered thousands of artifacts that are now proudly displayed for visitors and passengers.

With all the modern conveniences, ancient artifacts and extensive networks, these ten metro systems stand out from the nearly 200 that exist in cities around the world.

Which is your favorite metro system?

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