10.) London Underground
Known as the Tube, London’s iconic subway network incorporates some of the oldest track in the world, servicing more than 270 stations and more than 3 million riders daily. The system is also known for its cultural and art programs such as Poems on the Underground.
9.) New York City Subway
With over 460 operating stations and the fourth largest ridership in the world, the New York City Subway system is also one of the world’s longest-running, and open a rare 24 hours. Officials sponsor ‘Music Under New York’ contests to place talented performers in the busiest stations. Try not to mind the oversized rodents, though.
8.) São Paulo Metro
The largest, and first, in Brazil, the São Paulo Metro is often considered the best metro in the Americas. Opened in 1974, the Metro’s five color-coded lines now move more than 3.2 million passengers a day, and is one of the hemisphere’s cleanest and safest mass transit systems.
7.) Tokyo Metro
The busiest subway system in the world, the Tokyo Metro is world-renown for its efficiency – but probably not its leg room. The system moved more than 3.1 billion people in 2010, hundreds of millions more than the next closest competitors of Seoul (2.4 billion) and Moscow (2.3 billion).
6.) Almaty Metro
The world’s youngest, the Almaty Metro opened its doors in December 2011, after more than 23 years of delays. Located in Kazakhstan, the metro’s unique style, sparkling trains and squeaky clean marble floors make it an aesthetically-pleasing destination for subway enthusiasts the world-over.
5.) Copenhagen Metro
With driverless trains carrying passengers 24 hours a day, Copenhagen’s Metro system won the 2008 award for World’s Best for its regularity, safety, and efficiency – not to mention a 98 percent user satisfaction rate. The advanced system fits neatly into Denmark’s reputation for advancing all things green tech.
4.) Seoul Metropolitan Subway
Even with 8 million travelers a day, Seoul’s techno-savvy customer-friendliness knows no bounds – LED screens, multiple-language train announcements, platform safety doors, wi-fi access and automated helper robots keep trains flowing smoothly through South Korea’s capital city. The vast system services over 328 stations, with 16 extensive lines.
3.) Singapore MRT
Winner of two Terrapin Metro awards, including Most Energy Efficient and Best Asian-Pacific Metro, Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit system is one of the most advanced in the world, with iconic architecture and a 2009 green overhaul that showcases the region’s commitment to technical excellence and near touristic overkill.
2.) MTR Hong Kong
An efficient and high-speed rail network, Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway moves over 4 million people daily between 155 stations across 220 kilometers of rail. Nearly 90 percent of the City relies on mass transit, and the region’s innovative ‘octopus card’ allows patrons to ride the rail, pay parking meters, and even purchase food and other consumer goods.
1.) St. Petersburg Metro
Traditional Russian styling meets the region’s rugged pragmatism in one of the world’s most efficient yet elegant metro system. Chandeliers don the vaulted marble hallways traversed by nearly 2.5 million passengers per day, with dramatic artwork commonly adorning station entrances and exits.
The Saint Petersburg Metro is also one of the world’s deepest, as the region’s geography forced developers far underground – over 100 meters, in the case of the system’s deepest station. The depth also allowed the stations to double as bomb shelters during the Cold War, meaning blast doors and air filters are not an uncommon sight.
Still, Russians know how to make even apocalyptic paraphernalia feel refined. With exquisite interiors, unique architecture, and an air of wintry nobility, the St. Petersburg Metro is one of the world’s most enjoyable subway experiences.