5 U.S. Cities With The Best Public Transportation

Homebuyer tips

Written by

Teofil Molcut

Published date:

Updated: Apr 02, 2024 by

US city public transportation street

Not everyone can own a car; in some parts of the country, it's actually cheaper (and sometimes easier) to use public transport instead of a personal vehicle. Many American cities offer better and more accessible public transportation as it becomes necessary, especially for residents who don't drive. Have you always been curious about the regions featuring the best public transportation in the US? Are you considering exchanging your vehicle for a more affordable bus, train, or subway, but you are not quite sure about the condition of the means of transportation in a given area? Here's your chance to explore the top American cities with the best public transportation. Does your current location feature on this list?


You will always be on time if you live in one of these US cities.


This article will uncover the nitty-gritty of leading American cities' well-oiled infrastructure, revealing states with the best public transportation. Many criticize the "lousy" US transit administration. However, did you know that the American transportation system is catching up to the European one? 


Suppose you want to relocate to one of the US cities this article covers. In that case, give the professional local real estate agent a shout-out! Besides hooking you up with a low-cost housing option, they will also bring you up to speed with the most essential details of the local transit. Therefore, you'll be on time anywhere you go!


Which are the US states with the best public transportation?

aerial view massive highway intersectionThe top five American states with the best public transportation systems are the Excelsior State of New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, the Evergreen Washington, and Maryland. 


These states have been acclaimed for their efficient and extensive networks. First and foremost, New York and Washington have well-developed subway, bus, and train systems that cover a large area. No wonder residents and visitors can effortlessly commute and travel within the state. 


Moreover, these states focus on investing constantly in public transportation infrastructure. As a result, regular maintenance and updates are universal here.


Which are the cities with the best public transportation in the US?

Most US cities on this list already have highly functioning public transport systems. This inventory is also arranged by accessibility, so each city has many jobs within the transportation area. Besides, you'll find these particularly family-friendly cities ideal for settling down, with well-developed subway or rail systems in place. All set? Then, ready, set go!


New York City, New York

new york city taxi street viewProbably the most obvious choice on this list, but for a good reason. With a sprawling network of means of transportation, New York City boasts a whopping 479 jobs per square kilometer. You can get anywhere if you're within walking distance of a station. Featuring an extensive subway network, seemingly endless bus routes, and legendary yellow taxis, the Big Apple incontestably qualifies as one of the outstanding cities with the best public transportation in the US, if not number one. 


Suppose you want to discover more about how the Big Apple features the best public transport in the USA or want to move here. Then, contact the established local real estate agents in New York City NY as soon as possible!


Explore the particulars of New York’s subway system! 

New York City's subway system is the heartbeat of its public transportation. Spanning over 665 miles, it offers convenient connections across all five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island. By riding the historical rails, commuters can effortlessly access the city's significant landmarks, employment centers, and cultural hubs. They can get on and off at 472 stations! Additionally, the subways operate 24/7, ensuring New Yorkers can travel anytime without interruptions.


Hop in a yellow cab!

New York City's prominent yellow taxis (counting about 13,500 in 2023) have become synonymous with the city. You can quickly hail them on the streets or find them at designated stands; these iconic yellow cabs will suit your needs if you prefer door-to-door service. 


Yellow cabs can offer a customized and highly unique transportation experience. Moreover, passengers can enjoy the city's irresistible sights while driving to some of the best places to stay in New York. Additionally, introducing ride-sharing services has provided more budget-friendly alternatives. Thus, fast and enjoyable transportation options are virtually limitless.


How does the NY bus system perform?

The city that never sleeps manages a vast network of bus routes covering every city corner. Providing over 6,000 buses and 320 routes, the New York City Bus System offers an alternative and flexible mode of public transportation. Whether a short trip within a neighborhood or a longer journey between boroughs, the NY buses provide convenience and accessibility. 


The recently implemented real-time bus tracking system has further improved the reliability and predictability of bus services. So what are you waiting for? The best public transportation in the US makes NY sightseeing even more appealing.


Los Angeles, California

angels flight railway los angelesExploring the hidden treasures in Los Angeles can be fun and cheap using public transportation. Now, the LA public transportation has often been criticized for being slow or poorly managed, which might have some truth to it. Taking into account the city's heavy traffic and permanent city-wide constructions, the system is holding up surprisingly well to scrutiny. 


Plus, LA offers a pretty expansive public transit system. With almost 40,000 jobs within 30 minutes in the central zone, it's evident that people do manage to get around. The same study shows if you're willing to have up to a 40-minute commute, the number of jobs available nearly triples. 


Top-tier local real estate agents in Los Angeles CA can offer a comprehensive rundown of the city's extensive public transportation system so that you arrive at your new home on time!


LA relies heavily upon the Metro Rail network.

Los Angeles has recently taken significant steps to develop its public transportation system. The city has invested heavily in expanding the renowned Metro Rail network. As a result, they added more than 100 miles of rail lines. Ultimately, this spectacularly extensive rail network makes LA one of the leading American cities with the best public transportation.


However, in the case of such a great city, accessibility can still be a significant issue. To mend this situation, the city offers various options, such as buses, light rail, and subway lines, which are right on track! The Metro Rail network is continually and confidently growing. Based on future plans, the railway will reach even more neighborhoods and reduce travel times for residents. Statistics show that the Metro Rail system carries around 360,000 passengers each weekday.


LA buses and the Metro Rail are up for the challenge!

santa monica metro light trainThe City of Angels provides reliable public transportation services to accommodate its enormous population (almost four million people). The Metro Bus system offers ample coverage, with over 200 lines in most LA neighborhoods. Don't worry about not being on time! The buses have GPS technology, facilitating accurate arrival times and real-time tracking. 


Moreover, Los Angeles' Metro Rail system is known for its punctuality. Did you know that it boasts a 92 percent on-time arrival record? This reliability has made it one of the most popular and sought-after ways of transportation for daily commuters. However, this perk triggered an increase in ridership! A recent survey demonstrated that 86 percent of Metro users feel satisfied with the frequency of services and overall reliability. 


Our kudos to the Golden Poppy State! California isn't just one of the states with the best public transportation; it also hosts two cities with the best public transportation in the US!


LA champions sustainability in its public transportation!

Los Angeles prioritizes sustainable traveling to reduce carbon footprint and enhance air quality. The results speak for themselves: statistics reveal that the Metro Rail system saves over 38 million gallons of fuel annually! Plus, it promotes accessible-to-all pricing. This is what the best public transport in the USA should look like!


San Francisco, California

san francisco california transportationTo our initial inquiry, most will pick San Francisco due to the incredible BART. The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system in San Francisco is well-known and well-used. It connects lower Oakland to the San Francisco Bay Area and runs as far as South Mateo. 


Generally speaking, San Francisco's public transportation system offers commuters a speedy and hassle-free way around the city. You can avoid rush-hour traffic congestion with an efficient network of buses, trams, and trains. Did you know that passengers spend 48 minutes commuting stress-free daily, on average, significantly shorter than the national average?


Why does San Francisco have the best public transport in the USA? 

Let us tell you upfront that the city's Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is on top of its game. Also, the iconic cable car system adds charm and convenience to metropolitan transport. You can easily connect to your destination with over 80 routes and over 3,000 stops throughout the city.


Moreover, the city provides a commendable fleet of low-floor buses. The Muni system offers discounted fares for older people, people with disabilities, and students. Another SFMTA advantage is its average on-time performance rate, an exceptional 86 percent!


Our verdict: The city’s efficient commute times, vast network, accessibility, low-fare prices, and innovative solutions make San Francisco one of our cities with the best public transportation. No wonder this fantastic place ranks high on our top California destinations list.


Chicago, Illinois

train on elevated tracks buildingsWelcome to the Windy City, where not only deep-dish pizza and blues music reign supreme. It also boasts one of the best public transportation systems in the US! 


Chicago has a developed rail system with jobs centered around every stopping point. Many of the city's residents live and work within reach of the public transit, encouraging employment development in that area and within the rail system itself. Expert local real estate agents in Chicago also prefer these punctual, affordable, and eco-conscious means of public transportation! 


Chicago serves its community with exemplary proficiency.

Did you know that an astonishing 1.6 million people rely on public transit daily? They contribute to over 500 million annual ridership. If we take these figures alone, Chicago's status as one of the top American cities with the best public transportation would already be cemented.


Right off the bat, the CTA, or the Chicago Transit Authority, is like a well-oiled machine that caters to every traveler's needs. The CTA's extensive network connects every city corner, from buses to the iconic 'L' train system.


Chicagoans can count on their transport system featuring a disciplined schedule and a genuine fleet of well-maintained vehicles. Plus, flat fares are pretty affordable! So, why don't you take the scenic route and explore Chicago's hidden gems? Windy City is one of the most remarkable cities in the US and boasts an exemplary public transportation fleet!


Washington, District of Columbia

washington dc united state aprilWhen asked what cities in the US have the best public transportation, our beloved capital will most definitely figure on the list. Why? Regarding efficient public transport, Washington, DC, takes the cake! In 2023, the "The Capital of the Free World" transportation system reached new heights with phenomenal statistics. 


First, the "Chocolate City" boasts a sweeping metro system called the "DC Metro." The subway system spans six lines, connecting various neighborhoods and suburbs, enabling commuters to zip around the city quickly. With over 118 miles of track, the DC Metro accommodates approximately 750,000 riders daily. Talk about hustle and bustle!


Secondly, DC's Metrobus network is a force to be reckoned with! One of our nation's most impressive metro grid features over 1,500 buses operating across 325 routes. This means you'll rarely wait longer than a hop, skip, and jump for your next ride. We must mention one of Washington's superior public transportation perks. This SmarTrip card is a straightforward way to pay for your fares across different modes of transport. 


Washington DC delivers diversity in its public transit.

In a nutshell, Washington, DC's public transportation system is synonymous with cutting-edge machinery. One of the best public transportation systems keeps the city moving effortlessly. Why not take advantage of its extensive, accessible, and punctual metro and bus networks? 


Simultaneously, you can benefit from extraordinary bike-sharing programs by renting one of the 4,500 bicycles strategically placed at over 500 stations! Bikes are the best way to explore outdoor recreation outside Washington, DC!


If moving to the Nation's Capital fascinates you, you should search for licensed local real estate agents in Washington DC, who are also connoisseurs of public transit!!


Dallas, Texas

tram metro train on highway

Even though public transportation in other metropolitan cities is much more developed, the city of Dallas is known as a friendly place to drive and a suburb-loving city. Suppose you want to travel fast between all the attractions in this fantastic city. Then contact the experienced local real estate agents in Dallas, buy a home here, and enjoy its splendor year-round.


Dallas's prominence as a transportation hub was reinforced with the building of the Interstate Highway system. With four main highways converging in the city and five interstate loops, "Big D" is one of the best cities to drive in. Also, Dallas is home to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, one of the biggest and largest airports in the world.


Why is public transportation top-notch in Dallas?

Dallas acknowledges no financial limitations regarding investing in its public transportation infrastructure. In 2023, statistics demonstrated how Dallas showcased a substantial network of buses and light rail trains seamlessly connecting different city areas. In terms of public transportation, the DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) system is one of the fastest-growing mass transit networks in the USA. 


DART keeps the city moving, with over 160 bus routes and 93 miles of light rail tracks across its metropolitan area. The transport company has also ensured that bus stops and rail stations are located within reasonable distances of residential areas. 


Dallas offers cheap fares and convenient car-sharing programs.

You must believe the fare must cost a fortune. Nothing can be further from the truth! In 2023, a single bus or train ride will remain incredibly budget-friendly. Moreover, DART offers students, seniors, and frequent travelers low-priced tickets and passes. So, many are enchanted to choose these stress-free and cost-effective public transport alternatives. Also, Dallas is one of our commuter-friendly cities.


A remarkable feature of Dallas transportation is facilitating car-sharing services. These enable commuters to rent vehicles as needed conveniently. As a result, the number of private cars on the road has started to diminish. Plus, it minimized traffic congestion. 


So, if you find yourself in Dallas in 2024, rest assured! Cruising through the city will be a pleasure! For these reasons, "D-Town" has secured a top spot on our list of America’s cities with the best public transportation!


What are the standard features of becoming one of America’s finest cities in terms of public transportation?

transportation technoloy intelligent conceptThere you are! Here's our list of the six American cities with the best public transportation. In short, they keep on delivering reliable and cost-efficient services. In addition, they are constantly pursuing further development and eco-friendly solutions.


Great metro areas, like New York City, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and San Francisco, have the best public transport in the USA for a few reasons.


  • Firstly, they have an (almost) fully-developed subway and train system, covering significant ground. This means you can easily hop on a tube or train and reach your destination without congested traffic. By all means, there’s room for improvement!
  • Secondly, these cities have extensive bus networks that can take you anywhere you want to go. 
  • Thirdly, they are "getting around on foot" friendly and encourage moving by bike. Sidewalks, bike lanes, and bike-sharing programs are available. 
  • Then, they lobbied for government investments to enhance and develop the system.


By all means, the present cities boast a strong culture of using public transportation. Most locals prefer taking the bus or subway over driving. Convenience, cost-effectiveness, and eco-consciousness figure high on their list of prerogatives. So, let's use these means of public transportation and reduce traffic congestion and pollution! It can be the first step to achieving a sustainable future!


Discover fascinating trivia about US public transportation!

new york city june commutersPublic transportation is a multi-billion-dollar industry (more precisely, $79 billion) that employs approximately 430,000 people nationally as of 2023. Over the United States, nearly 35 million people use public transit options daily, whether for their daily commute or a trip across town. In addition, US public transport reported nearly 6.2 billion passengers using their means of transportation at the end of 2022! That's an impressive number.


Buses, subways, ferries, and streetcars are the most widely used form of US public transport. Did you know buses accounted for almost half of all public transit trips in 2023? US public transportation is becoming more accessible and easier to get where you need to go.


After the Covid restrictions, the future of public transportation is looking bright.

The unwelcome Covid pandemic imposed severe restrictions across all aspects of our social lives. Social distancing kept in real estate transactions was also present in the public transportation system. As a matter of fact, it cut the number of millions of commuters in half. Fortunately, once things went back to normal, commuters and passengers nationwide could benefit from its blessings again. 


In the meantime, the National Federal Transit Administration (FTA), responsible for developing mass transportation systems, had massive plans to extend its network. In 2022, FTA implemented 22 fixed streetcar and subway lines and numerous limited-stop express bus lines nationwide. Remarkable projects were greenlit and funded for completion. 


For instance, Boston's Green Line Extension (yet to be finalized in 2024), San Francisco's Central Subway, and Minneapolis's D Line bus transit line are among the most ambitious transportation projects with a mass appeal. Spoiler alert! These are some of the top American cities with the best public transportation. 


Final thoughts

If any of these cities appear on your list of preferred places to live in the States, check out the public transport systems in your target area. Besides being environmentally friendly, public transport can be a cheap, affordable way to get around without using a car. 


Having traveled through America and obtained first-hand experience, these six cities have the best well-organized public transportation system and developed infrastructure. However, honorary mentions go to Boston, MA; Jersey City, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; and Portland, OR. How did they win me over? I was always on time. Also, I could monitor the schedule and felt utter comfort.


What do you think? What cities in the US have the best public transportation? Does your city have a satisfying public transit? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comment section! Remember to like and share this article!


image of a real estate dictionary page

Have a question or comment?

We're here to help.

*** Your email address will remain confidential.

Real Estate Agents Near You