Riding the city bus or metro doesn’t have to be a nightmare, and European cities with best public transportation prove that.
Although riding public transportation might be a good way to save a few bucks, it probably isn’t as comfortable as driving in a car. On the other hand, when you think about traffic jams that are sometimes long like the Great Wall of China, taking a bus to work doesn’t sound so bad anymore. Moreover, there are some indications that traveling by public transport instead of driving a car makes people happier and more relaxed. First, you are walking to the bus stop on your way to work, and we all know that physical activity is beneficial to well-being. Second, reading a book while commuting is a way better than stressing about traffic congestion, right? Either way, we are sincerely hoping that traffic jams will be a thing of the past since self-driving cars, buses and trains are not science fiction anymore.
But, let’s get back to our today’s topic and check out how Europe’s city-dwellers get to work. Apparently, almost half of them, more specifically, an average of 49% of citizens of union’s larger cities use public transit to get to and from work, although the percentage is not the same in every city. For example, Parisians are using public transit more than Berliners. Nevertheless, it’s something that the European Commission strongly encourages, since it helps reducing greenhouse gases, energy consumption as well as many other pollutants.
Moreover, Europeans are constantly developing their existing transportation system. There are many actions and initiatives supporting cities which are eager to implement clean and energy efficient as well as sustainable transport policy. In other words, they are trying their best to improve their public transportation system according to international standards. The great example is Lahti, a city in Finland, which has the cleanest public transportation in the country. During the last four years, almost the whole city’s fleet is renewed, and nowadays more than 80% of the buses are low emission buses. As we already mentioned, in an urban area, the improvement of public transportation is a great way to reduce the traffic congestion. That’s why in a number of European cities, you can forget all about your car.
When it comes to the public transport around the world, if we look at the public transportation world rankings, besides the Hong Kong which tops the list of the cities with best public transportation in the world, according to the 2017 sustainable mobility index, European cities definitely dominate. There is no magic in the creation of successful and sustainable transportation system — all the higher ranked cities have a better balance between the three pillars of sustainability – environmental, social, and economic sectors. On the other hand, when it comes to the cities with worst public transportation in the world, they are mainly located in Asia. However, besides Baghdad and Mumbai, which we somewhat expected to find in such rankings, some of the U.S. cities surprisingly made an appearance as well. The best positioned U.S. city when it comes to the sustainable transport is New York which sits in 23rd place. Miami is apparently worst in the country for buses, Boston for trains, while Atlanta is the worst overall. However, there are few shining examples of smaller (mid-sized) cities with good public transportation such as Jersey City and Newark (NJ) as well as Cambridge (MA).
We bet that after reading the lines above you have the urge to move (back) to the “old continent”. If so, check out our list of most affordable places to live in Europe in 2017 as well as 11 Best Places to Live in Europe in 2018.
And now, let’s see how we created our list of European cities with most efficient public transportation. The idea was to check out the correlation analysis of public transport sustainability with land use indicators and regulatory structures operating in each city. The starting point was a list made by Statista. Then we have gone through the Forbes Magazine, CNN, UITP, European Commission‘s report on public transport and Eurostat to obtain much-needed data. We have also included public opinion on the subject. Thus we checked out Quora and Reddit as well.
So, without further ado, let’s check the list of 10 European cities with best public transportation.
10. Copenhagen, Denmark
We start with Copenhagen. The City Pass offers you unlimited access to buses, trains, tube and harbor buses in zones one to four, so, you can easily commute from the center of Copenhagen to and from the airport in only 20 minutes.
9. Geneva, Switzerland
We are continuing our list of cities with good transportation system with Geneva. The city’s public transportation network is known as UNIRESO. Once again, with the same ticket, you can ride the buses, trams, Mouettes (yellow transport boats) and trains. Although Geneva is a relatively small city, it has a world-class transportation system. However, a frequency is reduced after 8 pm.
8. Berlin, Germany
With a valid ticket, ticket holders have access to all public transport in the city — S-Bahn, U-Bahn, buses, trams, and ferries. The city’s public transport system is very reliable, except for winters when short delays can happen due to bad weather.
7. Frankfurt, Germany
We are continuing our list of European cities with best public transportation with another German city. Frankfurt’s public transportation is one of the world’s best. After all, more than 300,000 commuters travel to work every day (on work days) using it. Of course, there are tourists, as well. Over 350 rail vehicles offer comprehensive quality. Also, there are buses as well.
6. Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm ranked 6th on our list of 10 European cities with best public transportation. Besides buses, trains (commuter and underground) and trams, Stockholmers are using ferries as well. A ticket is valid for 75 minutes and costs 43 SEK (around €4).
5. London, the UK
We’ve all heard of famous London doubledecker buses, right? So, while you are in London take a ride on a Routemaster and enjoy unmissable attractions the city has to offer. Besides double-deckers, you can travel around the city using the Overground (a network of trains), TfL Rail, Light Rail, and trams.
4. Vienna, Austria
The four main types of transport in Vienna are U-Bahn (subway), S-Bahn (local train), Straßenbahn (tram) and motor-bus (bus). Did you know there are no formal ticket checks or ticket barriers at stations in this city?
And now, let’s see the top three European cities with best public transportation.
3. Prague, the Czech Republic
We’re moving to the Czech capital where besides metro, there’s also a comprehensive system of trams, or in other words, streetcars as well as buses. The public transport in this city is definitely economical and extremely integrated. If you are staying in the city for a few days, you should get yourself a tourist pass. That way you’ll be able to transit as many times as you want. Of course, as long as your pass is valid.
2. Paris, France
Whether you decide to take a bus, tram, Métro, RER (suburban express train) or Noctilien (night bus), with transport travel card Paris Visite you’ll get to know the City of Light from the best perspective.
1. Zurich, Switzerland
Once again we are in the land of Alps, watches, chocolate, and apparently good public transportation. This time it’s the country’s largest city which ranked first on our list of 10 European cities with best public transportation. So, the best way to get around Zurich is on foot, because it’s really one of the most stunning cities in Europe. However, you won’t mistake if you decide to take a tram, bus or train instead because taxis are expensive, plus you are not going to worry about parking your car risking a parking fine. After all, buses and trams stop at intervals of 300 meters.
That wraps it up for our list of European cities with best public transportation.