James McCay

Jun 27, 2023

Public transport has come a long way from its humble beginnings of horse-drawn carts, steam trains and steam-liners. Now commuters can cross cities across a vast network of bigger, more powerful trains, buses, ferries, plus other methods like trams.

While transport options have grown quickly, the value of a dollar has not – and mass transit isn’t cheap to run.

So, which country has the most expensive public transport fares?

To find out, the travel insurance experts at Compare the Market have crunched the numbers, weighing-up one-way tickets and monthly passes together in one indexed score out of 10 (with 10 being the most expensive) for 99 different countries across the globe.

World public transport cost index 2023

The top 10 most expensive and cheapest countries are displayed in the tables below. Click here to view the full list of 99 countries and 407 cities.

Most expensive countries for public transport costs

CountryAVG ticket price (USD)AVG monthly pass price (USD)Index score (/10)
United Kingdom$3.09$82.109.28
New Zealand$2.12$106.419.13


Cheapest countries for public transport costs

CountryAVG ticket price (USD)AVG monthly pass price (USD)Index score (/10)
Sri Lanka$0.17$5.790.05

The most expensive and cheapest cities for public transport costs

Expensive CityAVG one-way ticket price (USD)Cheap cityAVG one-way ticket price (USD)
Zurich, Switzerland$4.85Tashkent, Uzbekistan$0.13
Eindhoven, Netherlands$4.83Islamabad, Pakistan$0.14
The Hague (Den Haag), Netherlands$4.29Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia$0.14
Rotterdam, Netherlands$4.29Buenos Aires, Argentina$0.15
Lausanne, Switzerland$4.11Colombo, Sri Lanka$0.16
Bern, Switzerland$4.03Kolkata, India$0.18
Plymouth, United Kingdom$3.98Almaty, Kazakhstan$0.18
Basel, Switzerland$3.97Kathmandu, Nepal$0.19
Reykjavik, Iceland$3.95Karachi, Pakistan$0.19
Zug, Switzerland$3.90Astana (Nur-Sultan), Kazakhstan$0.20

How travel insurance can cover the cost of getting around

Travel insurance is designed to help cover expenses if things go wrong with your travels. This can include the cost of medical care or stolen luggage, but it can also cover a variety of bookings. Compare the Market’s General Manager of General Insurance, Adrian Taylor, explains.

“If something goes wrong on the way to your flight overseas, or bad weather impacts your travel plans, travel insurance can cover the cost of lost accommodation bookings, events, and even public transport tickets on the way to the airport or locally in your destination,” says Taylor.

“If you can show that you pre-purchased a ticket or monthly pass but you could no longer use a ticket or travel pass due to an insured event outside your control, travel insurance can pay you back so you’re covered for this financial loss – subject to the policy excess,” Taylor continues.

“Plus, if you need extra accommodation and alternative transport to continue your journey – or get home – travel insurance could cover that too, according to the terms and conditions detailed in the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).”


The public transport ticket prices were sourced from Numbeo on 29/05/2023. To create the index, the national average one-way adult fare and national average monthly pass were each given a score out of 10, with the most expensive country receiving the highest score, and the cheapest country receiving the lowest score. All the other countries were given a score based on their cost within that range.

These two scores – one for one-way tickets and one for the monthly pass, were then averaged together to create an equally weighted index score out of 10. City-specific prices were referred to in the article but did not form part of the index. The data and sources are detailed below:


1 Sri Lanka’s energy crisis is a glimpse of what’s coming. Pradeep Kurukulasuriya, United Nations Development Programme. 2022.
2 Sri Lanka slashes fuel prices after IMF bailout, says minister. Al Jazeera. 2023.