The tag was recently converted into a synonym of .

Making it a synonym is fine by me, but shouldn't it point to instead?

I mean, "metro" and "subway" are clearly synonyms in real life, but on here on Travel.SE they now have different meanings:

  • refers to trains
  • refers to public transport in general

Another option would be to have as a standalone tag with and pointing to it. Or maybe as the main term, as Wikipedia has it. Though I'm not sure how much value that would actually add, compared to just using the tag.

Also, a meta meta question: should tags and tagging be combined? If there's difference between them, what is it, and which one should I have used in this question? :-)

  • Yeah the "tags" vs. "tagging" thing bugs me too. I think we inherited that back in the day when meta sites had both, but I don't see both on other meta sites now \-: – hippietrail Oct 13 '12 at 11:37
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    There are systems in some parts of the world where something called "metro" is either not just trains or nut just underground trains or might not even include trains at all. There are of course many more suburban above ground train systems than below ground too so neither is a great fit \-: – hippietrail Oct 13 '12 at 11:41
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    Yeah, "tags" and "tagging" could be combined without worries. I assume our mods can do that? – Jonik Oct 13 '12 at 12:58


Make a synonym of , separate from both and .

There are systems in the world called "Metro" which include light rail or buses as well as trains, making it less specific than "subway". There are also many places with subway systems that nobody calls "the metro" or uses the word "metro" in any way.

So I don't think "metro" makes a good main tag.

But I think those factors don't hurt it enough to prevent it from being a tag synonym since it's still pretty common in many places.

It's true that "subway" isn't universal either, but it seems less ambiguous and more widely standard than "metro".

  • So this is essentially the same as this option, except with "subway" as main tag? – Jonik Oct 13 '12 at 12:54
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    To me, "metro" sounds more universal than "subway" (but then I'm not a native English speaker). Wikipedia also says "metro" the most common term for "underground rapid transit systems". I guess "rapid transit" is good because it includes skytrains and the like. – Jonik Oct 13 '12 at 12:54
  • But how rapid does something have to be to be rapid transit? Would buses not be? But what about buses that run on dedicated roads? – hippietrail Oct 14 '12 at 4:59
  • @hippietrail One can make similar criticism about any term we choose. Quite a lot of the NYC Subway is above ground, and most of the Market-Franford El in Philadephia is underground, and metropolitan character of outlying D.C. Metro stations in Gaithersburg, Maryland or Springfield, Virginia is debatable. Metro is probably more common in Europe, subway in East Asia and North America, but subway means a pedestrian walkway in British English. Very few American cities have urban rail, most have light rail— and the locals will call it "the light rail." – choster Feb 25 '13 at 18:42


There should be tag—separate from the more general —with all related terms such as , , pointing to it.

(Or maybe "metro" as the main tag, because that "is the most common term for underground rapid transit systems" according to Wikipedia.)

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    If you agree with this option and think rapid-transit should be the main tag, upvote this comment. – Jonik Oct 13 '12 at 10:03
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    If you agree with this option and think metro should be the main tag, upvote this comment. – Jonik Oct 13 '12 at 10:03
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    Where I come from nobody really uses "rapid transit" so I would have to guess what it means. If forced to guess I would assume it means stuff like bullet trains when compared to normal trains. So I don't think it's universal enough to make a good tag. – hippietrail Oct 13 '12 at 11:39
  • True, but rapid transit could still be a good umbrella term for all these "high capacity urban transport systems", as Wikipedia exemplifies. The fact that there would be tag synonyms redirecting to it would make it work in practice. – Jonik Oct 13 '12 at 13:04


and should both be synonyms of

  • Actually I think this is the best option since it covers metros which include light rail or bus and it includes above-ground suburban trains. People can always also use the trains tag. It's hard to think of any time it would be important to be very specific with such tags, and due to the inherent fuzziness and ambiguity with how these terms are used around the world, they actually can't be specific after all. – hippietrail Oct 14 '12 at 11:07
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    Yes, I think this is the simplest, yet very good solution. Too bad some people don't seem to like this. – Jonik Oct 14 '12 at 19:18
  • Public transport includes long-distance trains, airplanes (except private jets), ferries, shared taxies, … It's hardly a synonym of metro/subway which is urban mass transit. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Jan 22 '13 at 21:26
  • @Gilles: If you look at what "public transport" means in real life, or what questions the tag now covers, the term totally includes urban mass transit too. Anyway, this option would just be a simple fix to the current illogicality (metro -> trains; subway -> public transport). – Jonik Jan 23 '13 at 20:24
  • Public transport is not a synonym of metro and subway because it's a lot broader. It includes urban mass transit and a whole lot more. I agree that the current synonyms are broken, but this proposal is also broken. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Jan 23 '13 at 20:39
  • Of course; the point is that if we don't want a more specific tag for metro/subway, then they should be synonyms of the more general term. As with so many other cases! elephants is currently a synonym of nature-and-wildlife even though obviously the latter is broader. – Jonik Jan 30 '13 at 19:46
  • But this is just one option; I'm personally fine with having a separate metro/subway/rapid-transit tag. – Jonik Jan 30 '13 at 19:48


and should both be synonyms of

  • (I added this option for fairness, but would definitely downvote it if I could.) – Jonik Oct 13 '12 at 10:07

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