Cities Skylines Public Transport Guide
After Snowfall and Mass Transit DLCs’ release, it’s hard to ask for more in regards to public transportation options in your city. At the same time, the huge variety of options makes it complicated to decide which is to be used where. This City Skylines public transport guide is to help you with choosing the most suitable public transportation options in different parts of the city and provide you with some Cities Skylines public transport tips.
Let’s start with the basics. Your citizens go to work and back. When there are no Cities Skylines public transport options, they will travel by car. When every citizen takes a car, a transport collapse occurs. To avoid that you need to make all of these people going by bus (it’s better to have 30 people on one bus than in 30 cars) or even metro which even doesn’t interrupt your road traffic.
Speed of travel matters in this game. When a citizen has a choice between a train line and a bus line for a long trip across the huge city, he or she will choose a train because it travels faster.
This brings us to the approach you need to use when choosing which public transport to use in different situations.
Cities: Skylines Public Transport Hierarchy
So, the speed and capacity determine which public transit option is better for this or that situation. Long distances are to be covered by railroad, at the major train stations people should get a transfer to the metro which is good for medium distances and then they should be able to catch a bus to get to the needed point within a block. The system has a clear hierarchy.
Knowing these facts about Cities Skylines public transport hierarchy let’s proceed to the different kinds of transport.
Cities Skylines Bus
I have a detailed guide for bus lines here, don’t miss it!
The bus is the king of the early game. When your city is small, it’s enough to have Cities Skylines bus lines only. However, as your city grows and your traffic increases you will notice that buses aren’t always the answer. But anyway they will remain the base of your city transport at all times.
Buses are cheap and easy to manage in this game. In the beginning, you just need to place a depot that spawns buses and start building lines that connect your residential areas with commercial zones, schools and universities, parks, and landmarks.
The late-game problem is that you will want to interconnect too many areas of your city. If you do that by means of buses only then you’ll get traffic jams made of buses which are the opposite of the idea of introducing buses.
To avoid that you need to follow these Cities Skylines bus tips:
- Build bus stations in key parts of your city like near the central train station, airport and so on
- The bus station should be connected to 4- or 6-lane road with dedicated bus lanes
- Build a metro station nearby it should be connected to some line that incorporates stations in residential and commercial districts, near the port, airport, university, park, or any monument. I mean that there should be stations in different types of areas, avoid connecting two residential areas, citizens just don’t travel between them.
- Now try to build several bus lines not duplicating routes of each other and the metro route. They need to connect several districts of a different kind, schools, monuments, and so on.
- Don’t forget to rework your bus lines as your city grows. I usually track the least used lines and gradually expand or get rid of them.
That’s a great transportation option that appeared in Snowfall DLC. Trams may serve as something between buses and metro or even replace buses in some areas of your city.
Let’s compare Cities Skylines trams vs buses:
- Increased capacity as compared to buses (90 pax VS 30 pax in a bus)
- Ability to build tracks that don’t interrupt road traffic
- Usually, they will require a tram circuit which means you need to dedicate some space
At first, my Cities Skylines tram lines weren’t popular among citizens. I think that’s because I’ve put tram stations too close to each other (which is pretty realistic). Another issue was the crossing with roads which triggered traffic jams and interruption with bus lines which are more attractive.
So try to avoid these mistakes:
- Place tram stations with sufficient distance between them
- Try to reduce the number of crossings with roads
- Some tram stations have to be located near bus and metro stations to allow your citizens to switch
- Usually, my tram route is a pretty big circuit or square (bus lines inside the square) which has several stops near the metro, rail station, bus stations and tram stops of the neighboring tram circuit.
Cities Skylines Metro
I have a new detailed guide on metro here.
Now that’s the Cities Skylines best public transport option. Check this out:
- It’s underground, only a small station entrance needs space
- It’s even cheaper than railway stations
- It’s fast
- It has a huge capacity (180 pax)
- It’s unlocked pretty early in the game.
In real life, the metro is expensive and can’t be built on some type of ground. In this game, it’s the way to create arteries of your city going underground and not interrupting your road traffic.
Usually, I start with several stations in key regions. Connecting a residential area to a university and then to a commercial area, for example. As my city grows, I add stations and expand the lines. Usually, I end up with a dozen lines going from one corner of the map to another. Also, there are two circle lines going in different directions.
There are several possible situations when Cities Skylines metro not working as expected (sure if you connected the lines correctly).
The first mistake is placing stations too close to each other. In this case, it may be easier for citizens to walk or to take a bike than to wait for a metro train. Usually, my complete lines are 8-10 stations in length so avoid placing them too frequently.
Another common issue is duplicating your bus lines. This will reduce the popularity of one of these options. Bus and metro routes should have interconnections but they should not have competition.
It’s often a pain to create a very popular railroad route in this game. It’s double pain because starting from Mass Transit you have those cool multi-track stations.
So the idea is that the railway is for long journeys in this game. It should interconnect two distant parts of the city. Moreover, citizens should need to go visit another distant part of the city and there should be a proper reason for that.
Another function is incoming tourism. If allowed, tourists arrive at your train station.
So to make your passenger railway popular you should:
- One station should be located in a residential area
- Another station should be located far away and near a point of interest, commercial area, airport or cruise ship port
- There should be no better alternative ways to get there (e.g. a metro line in the same direction)
- At least one of these stations accept tourists
- Don’t forget about local transport to help your citizens get to the railway stations
- Don’t connect the line to a cargo train line to avoid railway traffic jams
Cities Skylines Monorail
A monorail is a pleasant option in this game which can be replaced with metro almost at all times.
The first use case I found is crossing a river with steep slopes – in this case, the metro will be way too curved while the monorail looks nice.
Another case is when you have a metro station with the interconnection of several metro lines but you need to have a connection in one more direction. If you add one more metro line then you may face metro traffic jams. I prefer placing a monorail station nearby instead.
There are the same recommendations – don’t duplicate other routes or it will be unpopular.
Cities Skylines Cable Car, Blimp, Ferry
These things see rare usage in most cases. They are suitable for specific kinds of landscapes and usually are less attractive than buses or metro. I love using cable cars for hills and ferries for channels. The main recommendation here is not to make routes too long – in most cases, it’s about the interconnection of two points.
Cities Skylines Transit Guide
And in the end, I’d like to tell you about arranging a hub. That’s a very pleasant feature of public transportation in Cities Skylines to it deserves a dedicated paragraph.
So, a public transport hub is a place where different kinds of transport meet at one point. Sure there should be an idea why you’re placing a hub here. Usually, good places for hubs are:
- Space elevator
- A place with a lot of places of interest
- A place on the border of big districts
- A place which is equally close to the above-mentioned places
When placing such a set of facilities consider such points:
- Don’t forget about walking and biking. Usually, hubs come with railroad/monorail/tram tracks and so on. Walkers and bikers should have proper access and tunnels/bridges
- Use wide roads as such places may have heavy car traffic anyway
Cities Skylines Car Trips Saved
Every public transport route has the car trips saved value but it’s not clear what exactly it means so let’s clarify. For example, every working day your citizen travels from his/her home to his/her workplace in the industrial zone. Sure, every day he/she returns home. Now imagine there are 150 citizens who do the same route back and forth every day. If there is no public transport, each of these people would take a car, so you’d have 300 car trips per day. But then you add a bus line which delivers these citizens to the industrial zone. The bus can carry 30 people. Let’s imagine it’s just one bus on the line which means it’s 30 car trips saved. This means the route will show you that 10% of car trips saved (30 bus passengers from the total 300 car trips). That’s a rather simplified example but it provides you with an understanding of how this parameter works.
Now that you can actually do to this value. From my experience, 50% is a good value for car trips saved. However, this doesn’t mean each of your lines has to be at least 50%. Let’s say 20% on a loaded line that transports 1000 passengers is better for your city than 50% on the line that transports 200 passengers.
However, car trips saved is a parameter that may alert you about an incorrectly configured route or confirm that the line is placed well.
I hope this Cities Skylines transport guide was useful for you!
See also: Taking Inspiration from Real Cities