How To Unlock the Transport Tower in Cities: Skylines

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The Transport Tower is a level 2 unique building in Cities: Skylines. To unlock it, you’ll need to reach 1,000 weekly public transport passengers in any one of your games.

Note: Once unlocked in any playthrough, unique buildings stay unlocked even for new games, unless you choose ‘Reset Unique Building Unlock’ in your game options.

 
This resets the lock on all unique buildings, if you want to go through the challenge of unlocking them again. / Cities: Skylines
This resets the lock on all unique buildings, if you want to go through the challenge of unlocking them again.
 

We’ll take you through the basics of setting up your public transport, and give you some tips on optimizing them to get more passengers.

 

Basic Requirements

To build the transport tower, you’ll need to have reached at least the ‘Boom Town’ milestone, which can be anywhere from 650-2,600 population depending on the map.

The Unique Buildings menu is unlocked at ‘Worthy Village’, and level 2 unique buildings are unlocked at ‘Tiny Town’.

 
You’ll find the Transport Tower in the Level II tab of the Unique Buildings menu. / Cities: Skylines
You’ll find the Transport Tower in the Level II tab of the Unique Buildings menu.
 

However, you’ll need public transport to unlock the Transport Tower. And buses — the earliest available mass transit option — need the ‘Boom Town’ milestone.

The metro, which tends to attract more passengers and is therefore an easier way to get to 1,000, is unlocked at ‘Big Town’.

And since only a portion of your population will use public transport, expect to be at around 10,000 residents before you get your Transport Tower.

 

Setting Up Bus Lines

In order to get buses, you’ll need to build either a bus depot (₡30,000) or a biofuel bus depot (₡40,000).

They’re functionally the same, except biofuel buses are quieter.

 
Place a regular bus depot or biofuel bus depot from the transport build menu. / Cities: Skylines
Place a regular bus depot or biofuel bus depot from the transport build menu.
 

Once you’ve built a depot, create routes by placing bus stops all around your city.

 
The bus line tool allows you to place bus stops around your city by clicking directly on the roads where you want them. / Cities: Skylines
The bus line tool allows you to place bus stops around your city by clicking directly on the roads where you want them.
 

In order to work, each route needs to loop back to its first stop. Don’t forget to finish the loop by clicking ‘Complete Line’ after placing bus stops along the different streets.

 
After placing the other stops on a line, click on the first bus stop to make sure it forms a complete loop. / Cities: Skylines
After placing the other stops on a line, click on the first bus stop to make sure it forms a complete loop.
 

Setting Up A Metro System

The metro is a much easier way to provide transport to lots of passengers since they won’t add to your road traffic like buses do. They also cover distances a lot faster, making your citizens much more likely to go for them.

To set up your metro system, you’ll first need to build metro stations at different locations in your city, then connect them using tracks.

 
The metro tab of the transport menu. From left: metro station, elevated metro station, underground metro station, metro tracks, and metro line tool. / Cities: Skylines
The metro tab of the transport menu. From left: metro station, elevated metro station, underground metro station, metro tracks, and metro line tool.
 

Next, connect the stations using metro tracks.

You can choose to have your metro system above-ground, underground, elevated, or a mix of the three.

Generally, underground metros are far easier to work with since you don’t have to worry about the tracks having to find space around roads or buildings.

 
Five metro stations spaced out across the city, with tracks forming a loop. / Cities: Skylines
Five metro stations spaced out across the city, with tracks forming a loop.
 

Now that you’ve got your metro stations and tracks laid out, assign your metro lines using the metro line tool.

 
Use the metro line tool to add stops at the different stations. Like with the bus tool, make sure you click on the first stop to complete each line. / Cities: Skylines
Use the metro line tool to add stops at the different stations. Like with the bus tool, make sure you click on the first stop to complete each line.
 

Tips for Getting More Public Transport Passengers

Once you’ve got your public transit in place, it’s just a matter of waiting until you get up to 1,000 passengers.

 
You can check your unlock progress by hovering over the Transport Tower in the build menu. / Cities: Skylines
You can check your unlock progress by hovering over the Transport Tower in the build menu.
 
You can also keep track of how many people are using which type of public transport by clicking the Bus Icon on the info views panel. / Cities: Skylines
You can also keep track of how many people are using which type of public transport by clicking the Bus Icon on the info views panel.
 

If you’ve got the basics of creating public transport services down, but are struggling to get your residents to take them, here are a few tips for optimizing.

 

Tip #1: Make Public Transport Free

You can encourage more people to use your buses and metros by making it free of charge through a policy.

 
Open up the Policies panel then enable ‘Free Public Transport.’ / Cities: Skylines
Open up the Policies panel then enable ‘Free Public Transport.’
 

Tip #2: Place Bus Stops and/or Metro Stations at Popular Destinations

Provide public transport stops near popular locations such as education facilities, parks, and attractions or unique buildings.

 
Commuters waiting at a bus stop near a high school and a public library. / Cities: Skylines
Commuters waiting at a bus stop near a high school and a public library.
 

Tip #3: Provide Transport to Industry Areas

A big portion of your commuter numbers will be people going to and from work.

Provide bus or metro lines that connect residential zones to industrial and commercial zones.

 
You can click each metro station to see how many passengers use it. This metro station brought 124 people to this industry zone in the past week. / Cities: Skylines
You can click each metro station to see how many passengers use it. This metro station brought 124 people to this industry zone in the past week.
 

Tip #4: Create a Metro Loop Line

A good option for designing your metro is to build the tracks as a loop that covers different parts of town, then assign one line going clockwise and another going counter-clockwise.

This way your citizens are more likely to find a quick metro ride to their destination.

 
Two metro lines going in opposite directions. / Cities: Skylines
Two metro lines going in opposite directions.
 

Tip #5: Facilitate Transfer Between Buses & Metros

An efficient way to use public transport is to have your buses collect people from local streets then have a bus stop near a metro station.

They can then hop off the bus, and transfer to the metro to go to places farther across town.

 
There’s a bus stop right at the entrance of this underground metro station, allowing people to transfer between the two modes of transport very easily. / Cities: Skylines
There’s a bus stop right at the entrance of this underground metro station, allowing people to transfer between the two modes of transport very easily.
 

Tip #6: Create Pedestrian Paths Leading To Bus Stops & Stations

Make taking public transport even more convenient and attractive to your citizens by shortening the distance they have to walk to their stops and stations.

 
Pedestrian shortcuts like these reduce your citizens’ commute time, making them more likely to choose public transport instead of driving. / Cities: Skylines
Pedestrian shortcuts like these reduce your citizens’ commute time, making them more likely to choose public transport instead of driving.
 

Note that even for a city with efficient public transit, only around 10-20% of the population will be using public transport.

So getting to 1,000 passengers will really just be a matter of growing your population as you normally would, while making sure your buses and metros are working as intended.

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Liz Villegas

Liz is a writer and photographer with a love for building and strategy games. Her spare time is often split between lifting, reading, drawing, annoying her dog Mr. Porky Butt, and squinting at stat tables on the wiki pages of whatever game she's currently playing.