The terms rapid transit, subway, underground, and metro each share a similar purpose. They all refer to public transport that uses electric railways on elevated platforms and that use grade-separated tunnels. Some rail systems use guided tires, monorail, or magnetic levitation. These systems also operate mainly in urban areas, though these may have many station stops along the way. The Metropolitan Railway was the first rapid-transit system in the world, and it began service in 1863. It is located in London, and now serves under the moniker of the London Underground. In 1890, the first electric traction rapid-transit system began operation, with it, too, doing so in London. This started the trend for building or converting rapid-transit systems to electric traction from New York to Europe. In time, Southeast Asia and Latin America increasingly followed suit as well.
10. Nanjing Metro, China (140 miles)
The 140 mile-long Nanjing Metro rapid-transit rail system is located in the city of Nanjing, in the Jiangsu Province of China. It services the city of Nanjing, and its operations commenced in 2005. This rail system has 6 lines with 121 stations, and these serve the Asian metropolis with 202 rail cars. Its daily passenger count can be as high as 2.248 million, while its annual ridership reaches 717 million passengers. It ranks as the fourth longest rapid transit rail system in China. There are future expansion plans for several new lines to be added in Nanjing, and a connection to He County in Anhui Province as well.
9. Mexico City Metro, Mexico (140 miles)
The 140 mile-long Mexico City Metro is a rapid-transit rail system located in Mexico. This rail system services the nation's capital of Mexico City and its surrounding areas. Its operation started in 1969, using pneumatic traction instead of steel wheels. It has 12 lines that serve 195 stations in the city with 355 rail cars. The Metro has a daily passenger count of 4.6 million, while its annual ridership approaches 1.685 billion. It ranks second to only the New York Subway among rapid transit rail systems in North America.
8. Guangzhou Metro, China (150 miles)
The 150 mile-long Guangzhou Metro rapid-transit rail system is located in the city of Guangzhou, China. The rail system serves the city of Guangzhou, and its immediately proximate areas in Guangdong province. Rail services by this metro linestarted in 1997. It has 9 lines that serve 167 stations in the city with 242 rail cars. Its daily passenger count is about 6.2 million, while its annual ridership reaches 2.4 billion. The Guangzhou Metro has offered free rides to transit employees and their immediate relatives since 1997. There are future expansion plans that include more lines and stations.
7. Madrid Metro, Spain (185 miles)
The 185 mile-long Madrid Metro rapid-transit rail system is located in Madrid, Spain. It has served the city of Madrid since 1919, and has a modern, light rail system connection in other parts of the city. It holds the record for most escalators (1,698) of any urban rail system in the world. Its underground stations are so cavernous that public festivals are often held in them. It has 13 lines serving 301 stations in the city. Madrid's daily ridership reaches about 1.74 million, while annual passenger counts are about 560.9 million. Future expansion plans include extending several lines and undertaking improvement projects.
6. Seoul Subway, South Korea (205 miles)
The 205 mile-long Seoul Subway rapid-transit rail system is located in Seoul, South Korea. This rail system serves Seoul, Incheon, Gyeonggi, Chungnam, and Gangwon. Its railway system has 18 lines and has 291 stations, with 70% of its rail lying underground. The daily passenger total reaches 840,000, while its annual ridership reaches 2.6 billion. Its facilities and rail cars are equipped with wifi, lte, dmb, and Wibro, and are considered by experts to list among the cleanest in the world. Mobile phone ticket payments and journey schedules are also currently accessible. Future expansion plans include screen doors on stations and platforms, and additional lines and rail cars.
5. Moscow Metro, Russia (210 miles)
The 210 mile-long Moscow Metro is a rapid-transit rail system located in Moscow, Russia. It serves Moscow and its surrounding cities and suburbs. The rail system has 12 lines and 200 stations. It serves about 9.7 million passengers daily, and its annual ridership reaches about 2.45 billion passengers. It is mainly an underground rail system, reaching as deep as 74 meters below the city of Moscow at Park Pobedy station. Future expansion plans include 94 more miles of tracks, which would make it third longest in the world, following after only the Shanghai and Beijing rapid transit rail systems.
4. New York City Subway, USA (235 miles)
The 235 mile-long New York City Subway is found in New York City, New York, USA. It is a rapid-transit system serving New York City and its boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx. The system has 34 lines and 469 stations. It has a daily passenger load of up to about 5,597,550, while annual ridership reaches 1.75 billion passengers. It is the busiest rail system in the Western world, with 24-hour, 7-days-a-week service. It also plans to offer a contactless ticket system by 2019. Future plans also include 300 more subway cars.
3. London Underground, United Kingdom (250 miles)
The 250 mile-long London Underground is a rapid-transit system in London, England, United Kingdom. It is also known as "the Tube". It serves Essex, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and London. The system has 11 lines and 270 stations. Its total daily passenger count is about 4 million, while the annual count reaches 1.305 billion passengers. Future expansion plans include extensions to Battersea and the Croxley rail link. Another line is being constructed, and to be named Crossrail upon its planned opening in 2018.
2. Beijing Subway, China (345 miles)
The 345 mile-long Beijing Subway is in Beijing, China. It is the second longest rapid-system in the world. The system opened in 1969, and today its route encompasses most districts of Beijing. The system has 18 lines that serve 334 stations. It has about 9.2786 million passengers a day, and an annual total of 3.25 billion passengers, making it the world's busiest rapid-transit system. The operators plan to add 650 more miles of track in the near future, as it currently cannot meet the city's passenger requirements.
1. Shaghai Metro, China (365 miles)
The 365 mile-long Shanghai Metro is to be found in Shanghai, China. It tops the list of the longest rapid-transit rail systems in the world. The system opened in 1993. It operates both urban and suburban services to a total of 13 municipal districts. It is considered as the longest rapid-transit system by length of route with 14 lines, and second by number of stations with 364 of them. Its has a 10 million rider-strong daily passenger count. The operators plan to add 4 more lines and connect to two other systems in Jiangsu province in coming years.