Did you go to work on the Glasgow underground this morning? Or did you travel on a ScotRail train? Maybe First Bus?
Chances are, whatever mode of public transport you took, you had at least one moment when you wished you were anywhere but on that transport system.
Glaswegian public transport isn’t exactly renowned for being the best public transport in the world.
Whether you’re sidestepping a seat on the subway that is matted with some unknown food substance or you’re running for a bus that only comes once an hour, I’m sure you have prayed that they would just do a public transportation revamp already.
Other countries have paid great attention to detail with their public transport systems. Which cities have pulled out all the stops?
1. Hong Kong
You might think that the bus you get home from work is busy. 90% of Hong Kong’s population use the public transport system every day!
With extensive metro system and reliable double decker buses, most Hong Kong residents don’t own a car, or even have a license. They simply don’t need to.
Why do so many people use these transport systems?
How often do you see someone collecting the rubbish on the train, discarding old tickets and empty plastic bottles of Irn-Bru? Once in a blue moon? Public transport in Hong Kong is pristine. Some people claim that you could eat your dinner off of the metro floors! We’ll take their word for it.
Every single station has free WiFi as standard so you can browse online as you please. Situated within the stations is a vast array of supermarkets, banks, and takeaways so you can fully optimise your time in a busy day and tick errands off your to-do list without trekking across the city to do so.
The Hong Kong system doesn’t even run on a timetable. It’s so frequent that you can turn up whenever you like and you’re guaranteed to jump aboard a train or bus with no issues at all.
You’ve probably heard about the bizarre job that some Japanese citizens have where they actually shove people onto the trains so that the doors can close properly. Despite this crush, public transport in Tokyo is very efficient – as is evident in the creation of those jobs.
Over 8 million passengers ride on Tokyo trains every single day. That’s the equivalent of one and a half Scotlands!
The Tokyo train service is incredibly punctual. In fact, Tokyo residents value their timekeeping so highly that it makes the news when the trains run a minute late.
And if it bothers you when someone is yapping away on their phone on the bus home from a long day at work, you’d like their aversion to speaking on phones in public transport. It’s considered extremely rude!
The Paris subway is the second busiest in the world after the Moscow Metro. Spanning 214km long, there is a whopping 303 stations (compared to Glasgow’s measly 14 stops!), all at regular intervals to make sure you never have to walk far when you hop off.
It’s deemed one of the best designed in the world, making it incredibly easy to navigate its 16 lines.
Paris is also served by a complex bus network with 347 lines, as well as trams. They’ve got everything covered!
If you ever have the chance to take the Paris underground, be sure to hop on “ligne 6” and grab a good window seat. This line is elevated, passing the Eiffel Tower and the Seine.
Seoul’s underground serves 8 million passengers every day. As a city that’s always on the go, time is deemed very precious, so public transport needs to keep up pace with their busy schedules!
As the home to Hyundai and LG, you’d expect Seoul to have an impressive, high-tech public transport system too. Seoul trains are kitted out with free WiFi and your mobile phone service will never black out – an essential for the busy business person on-the-go.
Seoul commuters don’t have to avoid making awkward eye contact with one another when there are TVs installed on board. The train cars are also climate controlled, so you have a nice, toasty seat in the bitter winter.
In another effort to help its citizens make the most of their time, Tesco decided to set up a virtual store in stations so that busy commuters can scan items they fancy and get it delivered to their homes in the same day. No more lugging heavy grocery bags on the bus up the road!
5. New York
New Yorkers love the subway. With 472 stations and 24 lines, it can get you just about anywhere in the city, at any time of day. That’s right – it’s open 24 hours a day!
Trains speed through the stations every 2 to 5 minutes so you’ll never have to wait long, and with so many commuters, this greatly eases congestion.
What’s more, is that the MTA subway lines are doubled up, so that all trains can run simultaneously along the same routes. Even when work is being done on the subway, one line can be left in commission to prevent disruption to your travel plans.
Dream of the commute…
For now, we can only imagine what a commute must be like on some of these speedy and clean train lines, kitted out with all those fantastic mod-cons.
These public transport networks are incredible and have truly earned their place amongst the best public transport in the world. Maybe we’ll be copy them in the near future?