The term "metro" (an abbreviation of the word "metropolitan") refers to a network of urban railway systems, normally located underground. This type of system provides a rapid transport link between two points in a city, without the traveller needing to use a personal vehicle, thereby avoiding the traffic jams that are a common feature of urban areas. The metro is therefore a public transport system, and users must pay to use the system. Failure to do so constitutes an offence. Users must therefore purchase a ticket to use the system.
A metro system comprises a number of different lines (i.e. a single track following a particular route), each of which features a number of stations at which the trains (or "metros" as they are commonly known) stop to enable passengers to board or alight.
The most famous metro system in France is the Parisian metro, which is and always has been run by RATP. The Parisian metro system is also recognised as one of the most efficient in the world. It consists of 14 main lines and 2 additional lines, covering the entire city in ultra-quick time.
Subscription cards are available for regular users. Special subscription rates apply, depending on the user's social, marital and employment status. There are also a range of subscription rates available (large families, students, senior citizens, civil servants, etc.).