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-May, 2017

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

Caracas, Venezuela (metro, bus) $0.40 – $1.50
Cairo, Egypt (metro) $0.06
Delhi, India (metro) $0.12 – $0.46
La Paz, Bolivia (bus) $0.19 – $0.51
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (light rail) $0.23 – $0.65
Marrakech, Morocco (bus) $0.20 – $0.51
Mexico City, Mexico (metro) $0.27
Panama City, Panama (bus) $0.25
Quito, Ecuador (bus) $0.25 – $0.35
Hong Kong, China (tram, ferry) $0.30 – $0.44
Buenos Aires, Argentina (bus, subway) $0.28 – $0.36
Beijing, China (subway) $0.44 – $1.31
Dakar, Senegal (bus) $0.25
Lima, Peru (bus) $0.15 – $0.61
Auckland, New Zealand (bus) $0.69 – $2.07
Macau, China (bus) $0.41 – $0.82
Shanghai, China (metro) $0.44 – $1.31
Cancun, Mexico (bus) $0.56
Taipei, Taiwan (metro) $0.66 – $2.15
Bangkok, Thailand (skytrain) $0.44 – $1.51
Singapore, Singapore (subway, light rail) $0.58 – $1.58
St. Petersburg, Russia (tram, bus, metro) $0.52 – $0.61
Cartagena, Colombia (bus) $0.48
Dubai, UAE (metro) $0.54 – $2.32
Montevideo, Uruguay (bus) $1.00
Sofia, Bulgaria (tram, bus, metro) $0.57
Phuket, Thailand (bus) $0.73 – $1.16
Moscow, Russia (metro) $0.87
Krakow, Poland (bus, tram) $0.74 – $1.00
Seoul, South Korea (subway) $1.11 – $1.20
Prague, Czech Republic (tram, bus, metro) $1.00 – $1.34
Santiago, Chile (metro, bus) $0.91 – $1.07
Istanbul, Turkey (tram, bus, metro, ferry) $1.10
Cape Town, South Africa (minibus) $0.45
Lisbon, Portugal (tram, bus, metro) $1.56 – $2.00
New Orleans, USA (tram, bus) $1.25 – $1.50
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (metro, bus) $1.13 – $1.22
Budapest, Hungary (tram, bus, metro) $1.26 – $1.90
Athens, Greece (tram, bus, metro) $1.56
Madrid, Spain (metro, bus) $1.67 – $2.22
Monaco, Monaco (bus) $2.22
Rome, Italy (tram, bus, metro) $1.67
Tallinn, Estonia (bus, tram, trolley) $1.11 – $1.78
Dubrovnik, Croatia (bus) $1.79 – $2.24
Los Angeles, USA (bus, metro) $1.75
Chicago, USA (metro, bus) $2.25
Dublin, Ireland (tram, bus) $1.67
Nice, France (bus) $1.67
Tel Aviv, Israel (bus) $1.92 – $3.04
Washington DC, USA (metro) $1.60 – $5.00
Bruges, Belgium (bus) $1.44 – $2.22
Florence, Italy (bus) $1.33
Berlin, Germany (tram, bus, metro) $3.00
Zagreb, Croatia (bus, tram, train) $1.49
Barcelona, Spain (tram, bus, metro) $2.39
Tokyo, Japan (metro) $1.53 – $2.78
Edinburgh, Scotland (bus) $2.08
Sydney, Australia (metro, bus) $1.78 – $3.48
San Francisco, USA (tram, bus, metro) $2.25
Miami, USA (bus) $2.25
Honolulu, USA (bus) $2.50
New York City, USA (subway, bus) $2.50 – $2.75
Brussels, Belgium (metro, bus) $2.25 – $2.81
Paris, France (metro) $2.02
Galway, Ireland (bus) $2.13 – $3.93
Helsinki, Finland (tram, bus, metro) $2.81 – $3.60
Vancouver, Canada (skytrain, bus) $2.04
Reykjavik, Iceland (bus) $4.00
Stockholm, Sweden (tram, bus, metro) $4.13 – $8.26
Montreal, Canada (metro, bus) $2.41
London, England (tube, bus, tram: using Oystercard) $6.49
Toronto, Canada (subway, streetcar, bus) $2.07 – $2.22
Vienna, Austria (subway, tram, bus) $2.47
Munich, Germany (tram, bus, metro, subway) $2.92 – $5.84
Amsterdam, Netherlands (tram, bus, metro) $3.15
Melbourne, Australia (tram, bus) $3.73
Zurich, Switzerland (bus, tram, train) $2.68 – $4.43
Copenhagen, Denmark (metro, bus) $3.61 – $16.24
Oslo, Norway (tram, bus, metro, ferry) $3.58 – $5.97
Venice, Italy (water bus) $7.87

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 £2.39 (US$3.12) 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$0.40, while buses are about US$1.50.

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$0.20 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 about US$0.01 per ride. Quite a bargain for those lucky enough to live nearby, and certainly the cheapest metro system in the world.

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  1. Emad says:

    You forgot tehran (islamic republic of iran)that has one of the cheapest subway tickets in the world with only 0.10 $ for a ticket
    Ofcourse you can pay less with credit tickets

  2. David Herz says:

    The Paris price is true if you are foolish enough to buy tickets individually. it goes down 25% if you buy ten and if you have the monthly pass Navigo at 75€ takes you on a five zone 80 kilometer radius around Paris, unlimited trips bus, metro, RER, tram and train…it’s quite a deal…

    1. Roger Wade says:

      David,

      I usually buy the carnet of 10 tickets in Paris myself, but this article is just about comparing the nominal cost of one ride in each city. If I tried to factor in things like that it would be impossible. -Roger

  3. Billy says:

    Transit in Bucharest (RO) is heavy subsidized: One trip for surface transit (bus, trolleybus or tram) is 1.30 lei (about 0.32 USD) and one trip for metro/subway is 2.00 lei (about 0.5 USD).

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Billy,

      Thanks for the info. It seems like the same thing is true for a great number of these places, and it seems to be a good thing not only for visitors but for quality of life and keeping car traffic down. I appreciate the comment. -Roger

  4. Dale says:

    We’ve just returned from Yerevan, Armenia. The Metro there is a flat rate of US$0.21.

  5. Andrew says:

    While it is true that the tramway costs only HKD 2.30 (USD 0.30) per ride and a ferry ride from Central to Tsim Sha Tsui is HKD 2.80 (lower deck) (USD 0.36), visitors are unlikely to have a meaningful visit using only these two means of transportation as they serve only the northern shore of Hong Kong island and Tsim Sha Tsui.

    Perhaps you may want to consider using the cost to travel from the city center to the top five tourist places for a more realistic comparison.

    To get up to the peak, the bus costs 9.80 and the peak tram 32 single/45 return. Going to the beaches in south Hong Kong costs at least 7.90 from Central. Going to Ladies Market from Central requires another bus ride on Kowloon, which is at least 4.90, on top of the ferry ride. Taking the tunnel bus would cost at least 9.30.

    You can see how fare off the suggestion of USD 0.30-0.44 (HKD 2.30-3.40) is from the very plausible fares tourists would have to pay when visiting Hong Kong.

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Andrew,

      Thanks for your comments. The article above is really just meant to compare the price of a standard ride on public transportation within the city center for the cities listed. It’s not really meant to reflect how much a visitor would spend in a day or on a whole visit. In many of the cities listed, most tourists can get around better on foot. And in some of them, as you say, there are more expensive options mixed in with the cheaper ones. It would be far too complicated to mix them all together, and this article never meant to be anything other than what is says it is. -Roger