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Which U.S. Cities have the Best Public Transit?

This is up for debate, but here are the top three in the country that I've used.  

  • NYC usually secures a high spot on lists of cities with the best public transit.  There are subways, buses, and many train lines to get to places outside of the city.  (New Jersey Transit, MetroNorth, LIRR, etc.)  It's cleaner than it had been 15+ years ago, and it runs 24 hours, unlike many other U.S. public transportation systems.  (I'm looking at you, Boston and San Francisco!!!)

  • Boston, in spite of my gripe above about its limited hours, has a decent public transportation system, dubbed "The T."  It has a handful of subway and trolley lines, buses, commuter rails, and many buses and trains that go to other cities.   It's also a good walking city, because it's so compact.   Unfortunately, it's fairly oudated and not always reliable.

  • Washington DC's Metro is quite good.  Runs until 3 AM on Fridays and Saturdays, and it is extremely clean.  There are plenty of elevators, making it easy to get on the subways with a stroller, which I wasn't used to, coming from Boston.  (Don't bring your stroller on the Metro during peak hours, though!)  

San Francisco often makes these sorts of lists, but having lived in the Bay Area for about 6 years, I was never very impressed by their public transportation.  BART only really covers one path through San Francisco, MUNI isn't too reliable, and Caltrain is prohibitively expensive for many people to use regularly.

Other cities that have renowned public transit which I haven't used before include Philly, Chicago, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon.  

Major U.S. that are notoriously very difficult to get around without a car include Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Phoenix.  

In spite of there being a few cities with decent public transportation in the U.S., public transit systems abroad blow ours out of the water.  Shanghai's Metro and Maglev made even the NYC subway look outdated.