It’s easy to take the London Underground for granted, or even blame yourself. Deep down we all know how lucky we are to have one of the world’s greatest transport systems at our disposal, even when we’re stuck face down in someone’s armpit during the Monday morning rush hour.
But even with its 272 stations and 402 km (250 miles) of track, there are still six global cities with an even larger underground network than the London Underground. The world’s largest metro system has an incredible 472 stations spread over 394 km (244 miles), while the second largest sees 10 million passengers daily. Here are the six global cities with underground systems larger than the metro.
READ MORE: Tube and DLR stations that actually have ridiculously long names that aren’t on the map
6. Madrid Metro, Spain
The Spanish capital of Madrid has more tube stations than London, but is actually slightly shorter. It has 302 stations, compared to 272, but it is only 293 km (182 miles) long. Madrid’s Metro is also much less used than London’s – it had just 600 million passengers in 2018, while the Metro sees over a billion people a year.
5. Paris Metro, France
The Paris Metro is the fifth oldest metro system in the world, founded in 1900, some 40 years after the London Underground opened. It has the same number of stations as Madrid’s, at 302, but is 225 kilometers (140 miles) long – nearly 100 miles shorter than the metro. The Paris metro also has 16 lines, compared to 11 in London, and instead of having names they are numbered – much less catchy, but probably more efficient.
4. Shanghai Metro, China
The global financial center of Shanghai, China has the fourth largest metro system in the world – and the busiest in the world. The Shanghai Metro serves 3.8 billion passengers a year, with a record day in 2019 with 13 million passengers. It has a whopping 381 stations – over 100 stations larger than the Metro – and is also over 300 km longer with 743 km (461.7 miles) of track.
3. Beijing Metro, China
Two of the largest underground systems in the world are, perhaps unsurprisingly, in China. The sprawling Chinese capital, Beijing, is served by a 727 km long (452 mile) metro system with 428 stations.
The Beijing Subway is over a century younger than the subway, having opened in 1971, and until 2002 it had only two lines. Today it has 24 lines, but still struggles to meet the needs of the 3.85 billion passengers who use the metro every year – that’s 10.5 million every day.
2. New York Subway, USA
The famous New York City Subway is the most extensive subway system in the world, with an incredible 472 stations – 470 of which operate 24 hours a day all year round. It opened in 1904, making it one of the oldest metro systems in the world, and operates on 36 lines with 28 different services. Around 5.6 million journeys are made each weekday, comparable to London’s average of 5 million, with route lanes stretching 399 km (248 miles) around the city.
1. Seoul Metro, South Korea
The Seoul Metro is one of the busiest in the world with 1.9 billion annual passengers – nearly double that of London – and is the largest in the world in terms of number of stations. The South Korean capital’s metro system is called the Seoul Metropolitan Metro, founded in 1974, and has 22 lines with 728 stations. It even extends far beyond Seoul city with regional lines reaching rural areas over 100 km (62 miles) from the capital.
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