Public transportation prices in 80 worldwide cities

Any good budget traveler can tell you that one of the best and easiest ways to save money in almost any city is to use the public transportation system, especially on longer journeys. As we recently displayed in our world taxi prices comparison, even a short trip can be incredibly expensive in some cities.

So below we’ve compiled public transportation prices in 80 of the most popular tourist cities all over the world. Since nearly every one of these systems is subsidized by the city, some of the prices are shockingly low, even on quite a few new-and-clean metro systems.

With the exception of the single most expensive one (which is really more of a novelty), the pricier part of the list more or less lines up with what you’d expect and what the locals can afford. Often in those cases the city also encourages use by severely punishing self-drivers with high road and/or parking fees. It’s also worth mentioning that most cities offer weekly or monthly transit cards that often bring the per-ride cost way down for locals.

Single-ride public transportation prices in 80 tourist cities

*all prices converted into US dollars in mid-November, 2010

Price ranges reflect shortest to longest rides in most cities. Tourists are most likely to pay the lowest price.

Caracas, Venezuela (metro, bus) $0.12 – $0.28
Cairo, Egypt (metro) $0.17
Delhi, India (metro) $0.18 – $0.66
La Paz, Bolivia (bus) $0.19 – $0.50
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (light rail, bus) $0.22 – $0.76
Marrakech, Morocco (bus) $0.24 – $0.61
Mexico City, Mexico (metro) $0.24
Panama City, Panama (bus) $0.25
Quito, Ecuador (bus) $0.25 – $0.35
Hong Kong, China (tram, ferry) $0.26 – $0.39
Buenos Aires, Argentina (bus, subway) $0.28 – $0.32
Beijing, China (subway) $0.30
Dakar, Senegal (bus) $0.31
Lima, Peru (bus) $0.36 – $0.64
Auckland, New Zealand (bus, train) $0.38 – $1.38
Macau, China (bus) $0.41 – $0.83
Shanghai, China (metro) $0.45 – $1.35
Cancun, Mexico (bus) $0.49
Taipei, Taiwan (metro, bus) $0.49 – $2.14
Bangkok, Thailand (skytrain, subway) $0.50 – $1.34
Singapore, Singapore (subway, light rail) $0.61 – $1.53
St. Petersburg, Russia (tram, bus, metro) $0.61 – $0.71
Cartagena, Colombia (bus) $0.64 – $0.80
Dubai, UAE (metro) $0.68 – $2.18
Montevideo, Uruguay (bus) $0.76
Sofia, Bulgaria (tram, bus, metro) $0.80
Phuket, Thailand (bus) $0.83, $1.17
Moscow, Russia (metro) $0.84
Krakow, Poland (bus, tram) $0.86
Seoul, South Korea (subway, bus) $0.89 – $1.77
Prague, Czech Republic (tram, bus, metro) $1.00 – $1.44
Santiago, Chile (metro, bus) $1.00 – $1.20
Istanbul, Turkey (tram, bus, metro, ferry) $1.03
Cape Town, South Africa (bus) $1.14
Lisbon, Portugal (tram, bus, metro) $1.16 – $3.97
New Orleans, USA (tram, bus) $1.25 – $1.50
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (metro, bus) $1.28 – $1.74
Budapest, Hungary (tram, bus, metro) $1.28 – $2.32
Athens, Greece (tram, bus, metro) $1.37
Madrid, Spain (metro, bus) $1.37
Monaco, Monaco (bus) $1.37
Rome, Italy (tram, bus, metro) $1.37
Tallinn, Estonia (bus, tram, trolley) $1.39 – $1.74
Dubrovnik, Croatia (bus) $1.48 – $1.85
Los Angeles, USA (bus, metro) $1.50
Chicago, USA (metro, bus) $1.54 - $1.73
Dublin, Ireland (tram, bus) $1.58 – $2.47
Nice, France (bus) $1.58
Tel Aviv, Israel (bus) $1.58
Washington DC, USA (metro) $1.60 – $5.00
Bruges, Belgium (bus) $1.64 - $2.74
Florence, Italy (bus) $1.64
Berlin, Germany (tram, bus, metro) $1.78 – $2.88
Zagreb, Croatia (bus, tram, train) $1.85
Barcelona, Spain (tram, bus, metro) $1.92
Tokyo, Japan (metro) $1.93 – $2.29
Edinburgh, Scotland (bus) $1.94
Sydney, Australia (metro, bus) $1.96 – $3.24
San Francisco, USA (tram, bus, metro) $2.00
Miami, USA (bus) $2.00
Honolulu, USA (bus) $2.25
New York City, USA (subway, bus) $2.25
Brussels, Belgium (metro, bus) $2.33 – $2.74
Paris, France (metro) $2.33
Galway, Ireland (bus) $2.47
Helsinki, Finland (tram, bus, metro) $2.47 – $3.42
Vancouver, Canada (skytrain, bus) $2.48
Reykjavik, Iceland (bus) $2.50
Stockholm, Sweden (tram, bus, metro) $2.61 – $8.70
Montreal, Canada (metro, bus) $2.72
London, England (tube, bus, tram: using Oystercard) $2.90 – $9.68
Toronto, Canada (subway, streetcar, bus) $2.97
Vienna, Austria (subway, tram, bus) $3.01
Munich, Germany (tram, bus, metro, subway) $3.29 – $6.58
Amsterdam, Netherlands (tram, bus, metro) $3.56
Melbourne, Australia (tram, bus) $3.63
Zurich, Switzerland (bus, tram, train) $4.08
Copenhagen, Denmark (metro, bus) $4.20
Oslo, Norway (tram, bus, metro, ferry) $4.34 – $6.68
Venice, Italy (water bus) $8.90

Notes on the above prices

  • Where price ranges are indicated it usually means that shorter rides are cheaper than longer rides, but in some cases it means a subway might be cheaper than a bus or vice versa.
  • All of the above prices are walk-up fares that a tourist would pay, though many cities offer small discounts to those who buy passes in advance or in bulk.
  • For London in particular the Oystercard (prepaid magnetic card) price was used because the walk-up price of £4 (US$6.43) for even the shortest tube ride is so high that only a fool skips getting a card.
  • In a few cities, most notably Auckland, Budapest, and Prague, the low price is only for very short rides, so the higher price is more common.
  • In some cities, particularly in Asia, there are informal public transportation systems, or systems that virtually no tourists ever take, and those were mostly left off the list. For example, Bangkok also has local non-aircon buses that are cheaper than the Skytrain and subway, but it’s extremely rare to see any tourists aboard.

The curious case of Caracas

Most of the cities on the list above have public transportation prices that more or less reflect the cost of visiting, but Caracas is an exception. Venezuela’s largely-disastrous attempts at planning its economy have contributed to Caracas being weirdly expensive for tourists, with the few international-standard hotels being among the most expensive in South America.

However, if keeping the working class from rioting is very high on the priority list then using petro-dollars to keep public transportation nearly free can be a worthwhile strategy. The modern underground system there has a flat fare equaling about US$0.12, while buses are about US$0.28.

Most travelers can cut prices about in half by changing dollars into local currency on the black market (so the metro would only be US$0.06 cents per ride), but even then other things are expensive compared to other large cities in the region.

The cheapest public transportation system in the world

Even though we concentrate mostly on popular tourist cities, seeing the Caracas situation made us wonder about Pyongyang, North Korea, and it turned out to be very interesting. Any visitor to the country will be chaperoned by a local guide at all times, and some tours do include a 1-stop ride on the Pyongyang metro, but otherwise the 17-station system is closed to all tourists.

If you were able to ride the Pyongyang Metro on your own you’d only be paying 5 KP₩, which is just under US$0.03 per ride. Quite a bargain for those lucky enough to live nearby, and certainly the cheapest metro system in the world.



22 Responses to “Public transportation prices in 80 worldwide cities”

Portland, Oregon, USA (bus, light rail): $2.05
Vancouver, Washington, USA (bus): $1.55
Wilsonville, Oregon, USA (bus): $0.00 (better than Pyongyang!)

 
arthur says:

damn, toronto public system people always complain that they are not getting enough money but our fares are amongst the highest in the world.

 
Pete says:

‘With the exception of the single most expensive one (which is really more of a novelty’. Assuming this refers to Venice, I would hardly call the comprehensive water bus (Vaporetti) system a ‘novelty’!
http://www.venice.nu/mapfiles/vaporetto2010map.html

 
Bobby B says:

As of January 1 2011 Montreal is now 3.00 CAD (2.25 in 10 packs)

(Thanks, Bobby. I’ve updated it on the main Montreal city page, but left it on the transport post since it was valid along with all the others when it was posted. -Roger)

 
MVV says:

Munich has raised the prices, ranging from 3,44$ (city) to 13,75$ (whole metropolitan area) now. There’s also a 1,65$ ticket for 4 stops on tram/bus or two stops on subway/metro.

 
Gerry says:

Excuse me, why isn’t Philadelphia PA included within the 80 tourist cities….seriously what a disrespectful thing to do….leaving out one of the most culturally induced cities of the USA out of the above list. Philadelphia has an extensive mass transportation system that many other cities would drool over….metro, tram, bus ($2.00-$3.00)….very expensive for a global city,…you know it amazes me how a lot of situations leave Philly out of the loop…but Philly, being one of the most cosmopolitan cities in America is and always will be its own leader…no New York City or Washington DC will upset a great city like Philadelphia!

 
    admin says:

    Gerry,

    We didn’t mean any disrespect to Philadelphia and I agree that it’s a fantastic city. This whole site tries to list the most popular tourist cities in the world, and Philadelphia doesn’t get enough international visitors to merit listing here…yet. Thanks for the passionate comment though, and one day we might expand that far.

     
    Scot says:

    Gerry,

    Give it a rest. Typical American “Why didn’t you include me… I deserve to be on this list.”

    There were 8 cities from the US on the list, far more than any other country on the list. So relax.

     
Marcelo says:

Buenos Aires has raised the price of the subway ticket, effective January 6, to $0.60 due to a cut in subsidies. The bus fares remain the same.

 
Richard Leader says:

Odd that EU countries do not offer nearly free public transport to all non EU tourist travelers to promote tourism. What a cheap , no brainier export subsidy.

 
Alex says:

I live in sydney and if you were crazy enough to do it you could catch the city’s monorail approximately 100 meters between galleries Victoria and city central and pay over US$5

 

When will this list be updated?

 

    Serdar, the research is now almost two years old, so I’m sure most of these prices have gone up at least a bit (or a lot for Buenos Aires). I’ll try to update it all early in 2013 after our next full revision to all the prices on the site. Thanks for asking and the interest. -Roger

     
Peter King says:

This is a very useful study but it needs better methodology documentation to be cited.

 

    Peter,

    Thank you for the kind words, and I know what you mean. The data was gathered from official websites wherever they exist, in a period of about a month, but that was two years ago. I never really intended on it being used for political debates and such, though I was quite confident in the information at the time. -Roger

     
Steven Green says:

Again, thanks for the effort in putting this information together, it’s definitely helpful for at a glance information. However,the city in which I reside is Dublin, Ireland and the prices quoted(understandably not updated) do not reflect the cost of public travel here. Currently, the cost is $2.16 for the cheapest fare on a bus or a tram. Either of these fares would get you a couple of kilometers at most. The price rises incrementally by stage(kms).

 
Jared says:

Melbourne is also now ridiculous for a one-off trip, as you have to purchase a $6 ticket and then pay the $3.50 to $5.90 for a two hour zoned ticket.

 
Bekzod says:

The fare in public transport in Tashkent city in the capital of Uzbekistan is $ 0.35.

 
Juan says:

Hello!

I think it would be good to have an updated list, since this is 3 years old. My city is not on the list so i think this is no use giving the prices around here.

Best regards.

 
Nathan Phillips says:

Not sure about the “small discounts” line. Sure, Venice is pricey for 1 trip, but you can get a week’s travel for 7x that price – and that’s the tourist price, locals or long-term visitors can get far cheaper passes.

 
Max Wyss says:

Note that in some cities zone fares apply, where a ticket allows unlimited use of transit within the specified zone(s) for a given amount of time. An example is Zürich, where the city network “single” ticket is valid for 1 hour, but for twice that price, you get a ticket valid for 24 hours.

 

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