Ultimate Guide to The Best Public Transportation in the US
4 min

Ultimate Guide to The Best Public Transportation in the US

4 min
Uploaded on
Mar 16, 2023
Last updated on
Mar 16, 2023
Uploaded on
Mar 16, 2023
Last updated on
Mar 16, 2023
Ultimate Guide To The Best Public Transportation In The Us
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As a student living in the US, transportation is a critical aspect to consider when deciding where to live and study. The US has extensive and diverse public transportation systems that vary by region and city. Navigating American transport can be overwhelming, but it is important to understand the options available to make the most out of your experience. In this guide, we’ll explore the different types of public transport available in the US and highlight some of the best examples of American transport.

Types of Public Transport in the US

The US transport system is vast, with several types of transportation options available. Here are some of the most common types of public transport in the US:


The bus is the best public transportation in the US. Many US cities have a well-developed bus network that connects different parts of the city. Bus tickets are affordable and can be purchased using cash or a reloadable card.


US transport options like subways, also referred to as metros, are a common sight in major cities such as New York, Chicago, and Washington DC. Subways provide a quick and convenient mode of transportation for navigating around the city. Generally, subway systems in the US are well-maintained, secure, and efficient.

Light Rail

Light rail systems, prevalent in cities such as Los Angeles, Denver, and San Francisco, are key components of the best public transportation in the US. These systems are comparable to subways, but instead have trains running above ground on tracks. Light rail systems are an ideal way to travel around the city and avoid rush hour traffic congestion, making them a popular choice among commuters.

Commuter Rail

American transport is greatly served by commuter rail systems that connect suburban areas to the city center, providing a quick and effective mode of transportation. Several US cities have commuter rail systems, such as Boston, New York, and Philadelphia.

US Cities with the Best Public Transportation

Here are some of the best US cities for public transportation, highlighting the quality and availability of US transport in different locations.

1. New York

With subways, buses, and commuter rail systems that connect all five boroughs, New York City boasts one of the most extensive public transportation systems in the world. The subway system alone, with its 472 stations and over 650 miles of track, is a prime example of efficient and reliable US transport. Additionally, the New York City subway is cost-effective and operates almost 24/7, making it an ideal choice for students who wish to explore the city. While the cost of living in New York  is high, the transport system breathes new life into student budgets. 

2. San Francisco

The famous cable cars and the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system are just some of the examples of efficient American transport in San Francisco. The BART links San Francisco to the East Bay, making it an ideal mode of travel for students commuting to and from school. Moreover, San Francisco is a pedestrian-friendly city, allowing students to navigate it easily without relying on a car. This significantly impacts the cost of living in San Francisco.

3. Washington DC

In Washington DC, the metro system among the best public transportation in the US, connecting the city with its suburbs in Virginia and Maryland. The metro is highly regarded for its cleanliness, safety, and efficiency, making it an ideal choice for students who wish to explore the nation's capital.

4. Boston

Boston's Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), or the "T," is a prime example of affordable and reliable American transport. The T comprises a subway system, buses, and commuter rail lines that link Boston city with its suburbs. Moreover, the T offers discounted fares for students, making it an ideal mode of transportation for students who wish to save money while commuting.

5. Chicago

The Chicago Transit Authority operates a very effective transportation system in Chicago, the third-largest city in the country (CTA). The CTA connects every part of the city with its extensive network of bus and rail services. A well-established Metra system also connects the suburbs to the city in Chicago, providing an alternative to driving in congested traffic, and reducing the cost of living in Chicago.

Tips for Using Public Transportation in the US

Even the best public transportation in the US can be daunting, especially for international students who are not used to the system. Here are some tips to help you navigate public transportation in the US:

  1. Plan your route ahead of time: To make the most of US transport options, it is essential to plan your route beforehand by using a transportation app or website. This will help you find the best route and avoid getting lost while using public transportation.
  2. Buy a reloadable card: Reloadable cards are a convenient way to pay for fares when using the best public transportation in the US. Many American transport systems offer these cards, which can be reloaded with funds and often provide discounts compared to individual tickets. They can be purchased at stations, online, or at local convenience stores.
  3. Be aware of schedules and timetables: Public transportation schedules can vary by day and time, so be sure to check the schedule ahead of time. Most systems have online schedules or apps that you can use to plan your route.
  4. Keep your belongings safe: It's important to be mindful of your safety and surroundings when using US transport. Keep your belongings close to you, especially during peak hours when pickpocketing and theft are more likely to occur on public transportation.
  5. Follow local rules and customs: Each city has its own rules and customs when it comes to public transportation. For example, in New York City, it is customary to stand to the right on escalators to allow people to pass on the left. Be aware of these customs to avoid standing out as a tourist.

In conclusion, finding the best public transportation in the US can be a challenge, but with the right information and resources, getting around can be easy and stress-free. With all the different types of public transport from subways and buses to light rail and commuter trains, there are a variety of options available for travelers. Additionally, Hoppa is a great alternative to traditional taxi and airport shuttle services, offering affordable, reliable, and comfortable transportation to and from the airport. With Hoppa's easy-to-use booking system and wide range of vehicle options, travelers can have peace of mind knowing they will arrive at their destination on time and in style. Whether you're exploring Chicago, San Francisco, or New York, Hoppa is the perfect choice for all your American transport needs.