The 10 Best & Worst U.S. Cities For Public Transportation

When it comes to public transportation, New York City is famous for its subways, San Francisco for its Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system and Los Angeles… for its crowded freeways. With cities large and small, public transport is crucial to moving commuters, shoppers and residents back and forth with speed, accuracy and affordability.

Quality of public transportation can be an important factor when choosing what city to move to.

Here are lists of the top 10 best and worst cities for public transportation in the U.S., according to Walk Score, which rated each city based on accessibility of bike-sharing programs, buses, ferries, heavy rail, light rail and subways.

San Francisco’s BART

Top 10 Best Cities For Public Transportation

1. New York City, New York

It’s a well-known fact that most New Yorkers don’t own cars, instead relying on the city’s taxicabs, bike-share programs, buses, subway systems and railroads. The city’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority recently opened the 34th Street–Hudson Yards Station that extends its already far-reaching subway service even more.

2. San Francisco, California

When you mention San Francisco, most people immediately think of its quaint cable cars that traverse the city. Despite the fact that they’re tourist-friendly, these colorful trolleys serve as part of the transit network to shuttle commuters to work. The city is rife with affordable, accessible public transport that includes municipal buses, trains, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), subways and CalTrain rail lines. Ferries are also a part of the transit system to link San Francisco with Oakland and Sausalito.

3. Boston, Massachusetts

For as crowded as Boston is, the “T” or the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, is in charge of its buses, ferries, trains and trolleys. As complicated as you’d think it would be to navigate all those travel options, fear not. Color-coded maps and schedules are available, and locals are always happy to help.

4. Washington, D.C.

Another city that’s rife with traffic gridlock is the nation’s capital. Not only is it the center of all things government, but it’s a tiny area (that covers 68 miles total) with nearly 700,000 residents and many more out-of-town commuters and 22 million annual tourists (in 2016 alone) of people trying to move around its streets. The Metrorail and Metrobus are the two major options for avoiding vehicle traffic.

New Jersey’s PATH

5. Jersey City, New Jersey

Amtrak is big in Jersey City, and New Jersey’s second-largest city is walker-friendly. Transit buses and heavy-rail PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) trains get movers and shakers to and from Newark and Manhattan in record time. New York Waterway ferries also dock in Jersey City.

6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The City of Brotherly Love shows no shortage of public transportation options. Philadelphia’s public transit agency, SEPTA (Southeast Pennsylvania Transit Authority) operates the regional (commuter) rail trains, heavy rapid transit (subway/elevated) trains, light rail vehicles (trolleys), electric trolleybuses and motor buses. Also available is the city’s Indego bike-sharing transport system.

7. Chicago, Illinois

Chi-town tourists and commuters get around via “The L,” officially known as the Elevated Electric Train that’s run by the Chicago Transit Authority. Buses, taxis, water taxis, and the city’s bike-sharing program, Divvy, are all options to travel around this historic metropolis.

8. Miami, Florida

Traverse Miami proper via its buses, rail systems, and old-fashioned trolleys that transport you to the city’s hot spots and tourist venues. The Metromover Monorail is an elevated, electric train that circles downtown. The Metrorail is a nearly 25-mile long elevated train that takes visitors north and south of Miami and also connects to the Tri Rail intercity commuter system.

9. Arlington, Virginia

Arlington, Virginia has its Arlington Transit bus system and a Metro system that transports travelers to and from Washington, D.C. It also has a bike share program and commuter trains.

10. Baltimore, Maryland

Public transportation options in Baltimore included the bus, Light Rail, Metro subway and the MARC train commuter rail system. The Charm City Circulator is a free bus service that even partners with the Water Taxi Harbor Connector for free water routes!

Top 10 Worst Cities For Public Transportation

Now we count down the 10 worst cities in the U.S. for public transportation.

10. Fort Wayne, Indiana

9. Lubbock, Texas

8. Fort Worth, Texas

7. Virginia Beach, Virginia

6. Chandler, Arizona

5. Colorado Springs, Colorado

4. Plano, Texas

3. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

2. Gilbert, Arizona

1. Chesapeake, Virginia

Sorry, Chesapeake, you have the worst public transportation in the U.S.!