City Index tells you the price of something around the world. This week, it's subway fares.

Cobbling together the best of the best in public transportation around the globe, a “fare” comparison wasn’t always so cut and dry. Most subways charge by distance, so a ride to work for someone in Frankfurt might actually be cheaper than someone’s fixed rate ride in New York City, but for purposes of a balanced comparison this article will use the average price of a ticket.

What are the subway fares around the world?. Image 1.

We chose 17 CITIES across the globe, from
Portland to Tokyo, to retrieve our data. 



What are the subway fares around the world?. Image 2.



— one ticket price (1 Egyptian Pound)

Public Transportation: The Cairo Metro

The first rapid transit system in Greater Cairo, the Cairo Metro transports about 4 million passengers daily with three operational lines. Line 2 even extends underneath the Nile River. But enjoy the cheap fare while you can as there are rumors of a fare hike in the works.

HOURS: 5:00am to 1:00am (extended till 2 a.m. during the month of Ramadan)




What are the subway fares around the world?. Image 3.




— one ticket price (40 Russian Rubles)


The Moscow Metro has 196 stations and its route length is 327.5 km (203.5 mi) with an average of 6.73 million daily riders (as of 2012). By 2020 the Moscow government is planning to construct 62 more metro stations thus extending the length of the tube network to 462,4 km.

HOURS: 5:25am to 1:00am.



What are the subway fares around the world?. Image 4.



— one ticket price (3.70 Emirati Dirhams)

Public Transportation: The Dubai Metro

The first urban train network in the Arabian Peninsula, the Dubai Metro transported a whopping 33 million passengers in the first quarter of 2013. The Dubai Metro is driverless, and runs on two lines: a red line and a green line. Tickets are pay as you go and range between 1.80AED and 5.60AED.

Hours: It runs from about 5:50am to 11:00 pm on weekdays and slightly later on weekends (Thursday-Saturday). However, it is closed on Friday mornings and starts operation at around 1:30pm.




What are the subway fares around the world?. Image 5.



— average ticket price (1.200 South Korean Wones)

Public transportation: Seoul Subway

Seoul has nine major subway lines that run all throughout the city and even go into the suburbs and surrounding areas. It is a great system, the trains come about every 5 minutes and are clean. It has train arrival systems with LED screens that tell riders when the next train is coming, its announcements are in Korean and English, it has Wi-Fi access underground and in its stations, and it even has robots that help passengers find information.

Hours: 5:30am to midnight




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Average ticket price: S$1.55 ($1.24) for the North South Line and East West Line, S$1.7 ($1.36) for the North East Line and Circle Line.

Public transportation: The Singapore Mass Rapid Transit or SMRT

The SMRT has a daily ridership of around 2.755 million people (as of 2013). one-north is the only MRT station without a capital letter in it. It opened on 8 October, 2011.

Hours: 5.30am to around midnight daily but usually extended during festive periods such as Chinese New Year, Deepavali and Hari Raya Puasa.




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— average ticket price (42.5 Taiwan New Dollars)

Public transportation: The MRT (or Taipei Metro)

The Taipei Metro has an average daily ridership of 1.72 million people(as of 2013). The “Ticket” itself is actually a plastic purple token, similar to a poker chip, so it’s basically impossible to break them. 

Hours: Usually, 6am to midnight but can vary. 



What are the subway fares around the world?. Image 8.



— ticket price (210 Yen)

Public transportation: Tokyo Metro

Tokyo is the busiest metro system with 3.1 billion annual passengers. In addition, old construction blueprints of the Chiyoda line platform reportedly show an extra level even deeper underground. This concealed floor ostensibly houses a platform for special trains that transport government officials out of the city in the event of a major disaster.

Hours: Depends on the individual stations, however generally speaking, 4:30/5am - 12am/1am. 




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— ticket price (1.8 Euros)

Public transportation: The Paris Metro or Métropolitain

About: With its uniform architecture influenced by Art Nouveau, the Paris Metro is the second-busiest subway system in Europe, after Moscow. It carried 1.541 billion passengers in 2012,(up from 1.524 billion in 2011), with 4.210 million passengers per day.

From Monday till Friday: 05:30 - 00:30
Weekends: 05:30 - 02:15



  New York

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$1 for a new card

Public transportation: NYC Subway

It is the largest rapid transit system in the world by number of stations, with 468 stations in operation (421, if stations connected by transfers are counted as single stations). In 2013, the subway delivered over 1.71 billion rides, averaging approximately 5.5 million rides on weekdays, about 3.2 million rides on Saturdays, and about 2.6 million rides on Sundays. Just watch out for “show time.”

Hours: 24-hours a day




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Public transportation: The TriMet, more formally known as the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon

TriMet started operating a light rail system named MAX in 1986. In addition to rail lines, TriMet provides the region's bus system, as well as LIFT paratransit service. There are 603 buses in TriMet's fleet that operate on 79 routes. Average daily ridership of 312,100 persons (taken from the last quarter of 2013). But the city is more commonly known for its bike friendly streets and a mildly funny sketch comedy show.

Hours: 5am to 2am




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— average ticket price (2.25 Euros)

Public Transportation: The Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg (S-Bahn, U-Bahn)

The Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg, or more commonly called the VBB, is the most commonly used mode of transportation in Berlin and Brandenburg transporting 3.37 million passengers a day. The VBB includes the S-Bahn, U-Bahn, tram, omnibus, trolleybus and ferry lines. The VBB charges you per distance of your trip, with tickets ranging between €1.30 and €3.20 for a single ride ticket. But for those feeling adventurous, tickets are validated through the honor system so you could potentially ride for free. Just watch out for those plain-clothes Kontrolleurs.

HOURS: 24-hours a day




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Average ticket price: Base fare is 2.60CHF ($2.79) for a second class single ride ticket and 4.30CHF ($4.62) for a first class ticket within your local network but change depending upon the distance you travel.

Public transportation: Zurich Public Transport (VBZ), Zurich S-Bahn

The VBZ has an average of 318.2 million riders annually. During rush hour capacity in the S-Bahn trains is stretched to its limit. At present 400,000 people commute in and out of Zurich every day, and the trend is upwards. The capacity of the rail network around Zurich, and of Zurich’s main station, has more or less reached its limit.

Hours: 6am to 10pm daily




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— average ticket price (2.97 Euros)

Public Transportation: The Rhein-Main Verkehrsverbund, or RMV

Located in the business capital of Germany, the RMV is the second largest transportation network in the world. Verbund tickets are valid on S-Bahns, U-Bahns, trams, buses, and some local trains. Again, if you are feeling rebellious, try Kontrolleur roulette.

Hours: 24-hours a day




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— average ticket price (24 Kronas)


With an annual ridership of about 55 million passengers, the Copenhagen Metro provides easy access across the city with rates that vary depending on distance. While a 2 zone ticket (the average used for this comparison) will cover most travel within the city centre, an all zone ticket will cost you a bit extra (108kr. or $16.39).

Hours: 24-hours a day



 Hong Kong

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— average ticket price (29.25 Honk Kong Dollars)


In Hong Kong, over 90% of daily journeys are on public transport, making it the highest rate in the world with 4.552 million riders a day. It is also one of the most profitable public transportation system in the world with a high farebox recovery ratio of 186% (as of 2013).

HOURS: Different for each line, mainly 6:00am to 1:00am




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AVERAGE TICKET PRICE: £3.15, or £5.3 if bought on the train ($4.84 & $8.15 respectively) 

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: The London Underground, aka The Tube

Founded in 1863, the network is considered the oldest rapid transit system with an annual ridership of 1.265 billion (2013/2014). The average tube train travels 114,500 miles every year. Just hold your breath at Aldgate station, as it was built over a plague pit from 1665 hosting over 1,000 dead bodies.

Hours: 5:00am to midnight but from Saturday 12 September 2015 onwards, there will be 24-hour Tube service on Friday and Saturday nights on the Jubilee, Victoria and most of the Piccadilly, Central and Northern Tube lines.




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— average ticket price (6.75 Euros)

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: The Münchner Verkehrs- und Tarifverbund or MVV (S-Bahn, U-Bahn)

Hours: Vary upon station and mode of transport within the MVV. Hauptbahnhof (central station) is open from 7am - 11pm Monday – Friday and 9am - 8pm Saturday.

About: MVV’s jurisdiction covers the city and its surrounding area, responsible for the Munich S-Bahn commuter trains, the Munich U-Bahn, the Munich tramway and buses with an annual ridership 104 million (as of 2012) using the trams.


Illustrations: Sergii Rodionov