Get Around on the Cheap: Ten Best U.S. Cities for Public Transportation

in Green Travel, Trip Locations, Trip Planning

Whether we’re talking about airfare or cab fare, transportation costs can eat up a large part of one’s travel budget.

Of course, western Europe is known for its highly accessible and inexpensive public transportation systems.

But we’ve got plenty of bragging rights in the U.S., too. If you’re looking to cut down on transportation costs once you reach your destination, check out these ten best U.S. cities for public transportation. You may be surprised by some of them!

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix is now home to a state-of-the-art light-rail line that opened in January 2009. It started with a 20-mile line and has consistently grown since then. The definition of clean, modern, hassle-free transportation within an area that can only be described as urban sprawl.

Denver, Colorado

Another sprawling area, Denver boasts one of the leading transit systems in the West. An intricate network of light rail and buses connects the city, with the downtown Union Station as the hub. Over the past two years, rail and bus lines have been spread out into the suburbs.

Los Angeles, California

Over the past two decades, Los Angeles has spent well over 11 billion dollars to improve the city’s public transportation, including the streamlined Metro Rapid bus line and an expansive rail system that radiates out from the train station downtown. And car-loving Angelinos seem to be taking to the relatively new options for public transportation; the city’s ridership ranks among the top in the country.

San Francisco, California

San Francisco is home to a variety of public transportation options including a light rail and the city’s quintessential cable cars. The extended metropolitan area of San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley is served by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) subway system.

San Francisco's BART is one of the most expansive and efficient public transportation systems in the U.S.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City has poured a large amount of its financial resources into improving and expanding the Utah Transit Authority’s light rail system (TRAX). TRAX connects downtown to the surrounding suburbs, serving  over 1.7 million people.

New York, New York

This one’s a no-brainer. The Big Apple has one of the most efficient public transportation systems in the country (the subway as well as a bus system). The city’s average weekday ridership of public transportation is over 8.4 million.

St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis’ MetroLink light-rail system has changed the face of public transportation in the city. Small business in both the Missouri and Illinois parts of the greater metro area have thrived thanks to this efficient transportation system.

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Talk about eco-friendly, the transit system in Grand Rapids (The Rapid) has a LEED-Certified central terminal. The creation of this efficient system has also helped the local economy. The Rapid doesn’t yet extend out into the suburbs, so for the time being there is a shuttle that transports riders to and from the nearest stop.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Historically, the Twin Cities have not been known for their public transportation options. However, that reputation has shifted over the past few years. The city’s new light rail system already connects part of Minneapolis to the airport and Mall of America, and  a new light rail line connecting Minneapolis and St. Paul’s downtown areas is under construction and is expected to be completed by 2014.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu does not have an urban rail system, but it makes up for it with TheBus system, Oahu’s primary mode of public transit. Honolulu is currently making plans  to expand its transit options with an elevated rail system connecting the city to western Oahu.

Previous post:

Next post: