Transport in Russia
The Russian transport as we all know the most common sight in big cities is the traffic jam. As a result of this, your best option for travelling around Russia is the Metro. It doesn’t take long in terms of time as there are not usually any jams with the Metro. Another reason for using the Metro, is that at many of the stations the architecture is wonderful and therefore can be classed as sightseeing musts.
The Moscow metro is used daily by over 9 million people, making it the most used in the world. The operating hours are 5:30am to 1:30am but the last “boarding” is at 1am. Every station has a ticket office where you can buy travel cards valid for 1 to 20 trips. The current price for 1 metro trip is 15 roubles ($0.6)
Overland transport is another option for moving around in Russia, however in the bigger cities you may encounter delays, due to rush hour traffic. Most of the buses, trams and trolleybuses now have automatic check control, this means you will need to obtain your ticket before boarding and look after it once you have it. You will find a ticket office at most stops so there is no excuse for not obtaining one. 1 trip in Moscow currently costs about 15 roubles ($0.6) however, this does vary depending on what region you are in. There is a fine of about 100 roubles ($3.8) for travelling without a ticket. The hours of operation of the overland transport is 7-10am and 5-8pm (this is the rush hour )
If you are looking for a Taxi stations in the big cities including Moscow they can be difficult to locate. You will mostly find them near railway stations and airports. The best way to catch a car is to hitch hike (this may go against everything you have been taught, but it is safe to do this in Russia). Just lift your right hand and wait for a car to stop. The official taxi cars are yellow, however, in some of the larger cities, lots of people actually work by giving lifts to people. You must agree the fare BEFORE you get in the car, and the price will depend on your destination. The drivers normally give you a price that is higher than the actual cost of the trip, don’t be afraid to offer a lower price. As an example, the driver may say that the journey will cost you 350 roubles, don’t be worried about offering 300 roubles as your price. The one problem you may face though is the language barrier, not a lot of the drivers speak English or any other foreign language. This applies in both the big cities and the smaller towns. If you need an English speaking driver you should call one of the taxi services in the city you are visiting and ask for such a driver, however, do keep in mind this will be more expensive.
Unless it is an emergency, we do not advise you use the suburban electric trains. Firstly, they are not really very clean or comfortable. They are usually full of loudly speaking sellers of various items of junk, beggars and drunks. These trains are more overcrowded during rush hour than any other form of public transport, and during mid spring to mid autumn they are also full of people going to their country houses as well, so you tend to feel like a sardine in a can. In Moscow the electric train system has several directions which all start at the train station. These can be incredibly confusing regarding timetables, routes and stops. Those used to travelling on the system do not have any difficulty, however those who are new to the country and system (especially non Russian speakers) get easily confused and you could end up in the remotest parts of the country instead of where you are meant to be.
One of the most popular ways of travelling around Russia are the so called “Marshrutka” (minibus taxi). You will find these in most Russian cities and towns. The reason they are so popular is because they are cheap, have a variety of routes and run regularly. They usually start their routes at railway stations and metro stations. It is not necessary though to go to these places to catch them. If you know the number for route you want, you can catch it any where along the route. Just lift your hand and wait for the relevant Marshrukta to stop. You will need to pay the cost of your trip as soon as you board, the cost of 1 trip tends to be around 20 roubles ($0.8) and you hand the money directly to the driver. The Marshrukta shouldn’t have more passengers on board than there are seats, however, you will find that there are some drivers who want to maximise their profits so will have passengers standing as well. If you can speak a little Russian, do complain if you see this, as it could safe lives and the health of the travellers
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