- People all over the globe take the subway every day
- INSIDER found out what 16 of the world’s subway systems are like
- The Moscow Metro has chandeliers and marble walls
Whether they’re commuting to work or exploring a new city, many people around the world travel via subway. From Paris, France, to Delhi, India, here’s what subway systems are like in 16 places across the globe.
The Métro in Paris, France, is Europe’s second-busiest subway system.
The Paris Métro is one of the world’s most iconic rapid-transit systems, appearing in films such as “Paris, je t’aime” and “Amélie.” Boasting 300 stations and 16 lines, it opened in 1900 in coordination with the Exposition Universelle, or world’s fair. After Moscow, it’s the second-busiest subway system in Europe.
In Dubai, United Arab Emirates, subway cars are driverless.
Currently featuring two operational lines, Red and Green, the Dubai Metro opened in 2009. The driverless subway cars are divided into several classes including Gold (aka first class), Women and Children, and Standard.
The world’s oldest subway system is located in London, United Kingdom.
London’s Underground (or Tube, as it’s commonly known) is the world’s oldest subway system. In 1863, Underground trains began running on the Metropolitan Railway, a freight and passenger railway. The first electric Tube line was operational by 1890.
New York City’s first public transit service was a 19th-century stagecoach.
- Getty Images/Spencer Platt
Dating back to 1827, New York City‘s premier public transit system was a 12-seat stagecoach known as the “Accommodation.” The city’s first official subway system, the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT), debuted in 1904. Spanning 9.1 miles, the IRT comprised of 28 stations in Manhattan. Service soon expanded to include Queens and the Bronx. The Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company offered service between Manhattan and that borough beginning in 1915.
A century later, NYC’s subway system – which features a whopping 472 stations spread out across 27 lines and four boroughs – is one of the most expansive in the world. It’s also one of the few subways on the planet to operate most lines 24/7.
Beijing, China, boasts the second-longest subway system in the world.
- Kevin Frayer/Getty
Construction on the subway in China’s capital began in the ’60s, with service starting in 1969. Spanning 380 miles, the Beijing Subway is the third-longest on the planet. Of its more than 20 lines, several were opened just in time to accommodate passengers during the 2008 Summer Olympics.
There are two modes of rapid transit in Berlin, Germany.
- Flickr/Alexander Rentsch
Berlin’s rapid-transit network features two systems, the U-Bahn (Untergrundbahn, “underground railway”), which began service in 1902, and the S-Bahn (Stadtschnellbahn, “city rapid railway”), established in 1924. Spanning about 90 miles, the U-Bahn comprises 10 lines and 173 stations.
The subway in Moscow, Russia, is known for its ornate architecture.
- REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
The Moscow Metro, which opened in 1935, is known for its ornate, Stalinist-era architecture with marble walls, chandeliers, and mosaics. Every day, this subway system ferries about nine million people around Russia’s capital. It includes just under 200 stations, 70 of which are located deep underground.
The largest subway system in South America is in Santiago, Chile.
- Shutterstock/Pablo Rogat
You’ll find South America’s most extensive rapid-transit system in Chile. The Santiago Metro currently spans 73 miles. Planned expansions will add more than 20 miles to the system, according to Next City.
In Tokyo, Japan, you can take two different subway systems.
In Tokyo, the subway network consists of the privately owned Tokyo Metro (nine lines) and the public Toei Subway (four lines), operated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Although the systems aren’t fully interconnected, travelers can switch between them by using a prepaid smartcard.
Since stations are labeled alphanumerically, it’s easy to figure out where you need to go whether or not you speak Japanese.
The first lines of the Mexico City Metro were built in the late ’60s.
Serving the Greater Mexico City area since the late 1960s, when its first lines were built, the Mexico City Metro boasts about four million daily riders. This subway’s 12th and most recent line opened in 2012.
The subway in Delhi, India, opened in 2002.
The Delhi Metro has been in operation since 2002. Some of its 160 stations are elevated or at ground level. In each train, the first car is reserved for female passengers.
In Istanbul, Turkey, the first subway opened in the 19th century.
- REUTERS/Murad Sezer
Istanbul’s first underground transit system, the “Tünel,” began service in 1875. However, the city didn’t get a modern subway system until 1989, when the light metro line became operational. Then, in 2000, the Istanbul Metro’s first full line opened.
The Chicago “L” is the oldest rapid-transit system in the US.
The Chicago “L” (or “elevated”) rapid-transit system opened in 1897, making it the oldest in the US. Prior to 1947, when the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) began operating L trains and streetcars as public transportation, the system was the purview of a group of private companies.
With an annual ridership of 238.6 million people, the CTA’s eight color-coded rail lines serve neighborhoods around Chicago and 35 of its suburbs.
The Toronto subway was the first in Canada.
Toronto’s subway, Canada’s first subway line, opened in 1954. It’s operated by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), which also runs streetcars and buses, among other transportation services. It originally featured just one line and 12 stations. Now, there are 75 stations stretching across four lines.
Only two African cities have subway systems, and one is Cairo, Egypt.
Cairo, Egypt, is one of the few cities on the African continent to offer a subway system (the other is Algiers, Algeria).
Comprising two lines with an additional two planned, Metro Cairo opened in 1990. Its annual ridership is approximately 500 million people.
The subway system in Stockholm, Sweden, is like an underground art museum.
- Flickr/Tobias Lindman
In Stockholm, Sweden, the subway system is an art lover’s dream. More than 90 of the city’s 100 stations are bedecked with art installations ranging from sculptures to paintings.
Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.