Saturday, July 14, 2012

Transport in Russia

Going to Russia is truly an adventure mainly because I went there free & easy and I know zero Russian. Luckily my wife's friend was there to guide us along the way. I'll dedicate a short post on traveling on the public transport system in Russia but do take note that it's preferable to know the Russian language as all the signs you see in the transport system are written and spoken in Russian.

Below is the picture of the station name in their metro.


Believe it or not, that's the only place where you'll see the station name, and you'll not be able to read it if you do not have prior knowledge of the Russian language. Therefore you'll have problems knowing the station you're in as it's very difficult to see the station name within the train.

Each train station is also uniquely decorated and have its own theme. Below is a picture of one of the train stations that I was in.



Below is a picture of one of the trains running in the metro.


The trains' frequency is quite good, coming once every 2-3 mins and it runs until quite late. The last train I caught was close to midnight. However, do take note that the train is pretty noisy and even though you may know the Russian language, sometimes it's next to impossible to hear the train announcement due to the noise. The train is also quite jerky and it's preferable for you to hold on to the handrails.

In Moscow, you'll be able to buy the train ticket for 20 rides for about 520 roubles if my memory serves me correctly. The advantage of the Moscow Metro is that you'll be able to use the same train ticket for different people so it's possible for a group to share one train ticket. However, this is not possible for Saint Petersburg where you have to wait 8 minutes before you can use the train ticket again. Therefore in Saint Petersburg, we have to buy our own train "ticket". Below is the picture of the train ticket used in Saint Petersburg. Quite cute. :)


Other than the metro, you can also take the bus/tram but this definitely requires you to speak Russian as it's next to impossible to find English speaking drivers. Do note that the buses/trams will usually stop right at the bus stop sign showing the bus number.

There are 2 types of bus stop signs in Russia. The picture below shows the tram bus stop sign that's hanging over the tram wires.


The tram ride costs about 23 roubles for each trip. Usually there is a conductor in the bus who you will pay to. Below is the picture of the actual tram.


There are of course normal bus stop signs like the picture below. The bus stop signs will also show the streets that the bus will stop at.


The cost of the bus ride is about 28 roubles if my memory serves me correctly. Below is the picture of a typical bus in Russia.


Other than the bus and metro, you can also take the train to other parts of Russia. In my trip, I also took the overnight train from Moscow to Saint Petersburg, which took about 7 and a half hours.. The 2-way ticket costs about 5100 roubles per person and it's an interesting experience to sleep on the train. Below is the picture of a typical train cabin.


This cabin can sleep 4 people, 2 of which will have to sleep at the top bunk. There are mini steps at the side of the cabin if you have problems climbing up. There are also "devices" to prevent you from falling down the bed. Bed sheets, pillow cases, blankets and a face towel is also provided in the cabin. You can also order drinks or snacks from the conductor and the drinks are pretty cheap. I believe it's only about 20 roubles for a bottle of Akba water, cheapest I've encountered in Russia. Do note that the air-conditioning will only be turned on when the train is moving so do not board the train too early. :)

All I can say is that without my wife's friend, I'll not dare to sit in their public transport. It can be quite daunting. Thanks Jeanne for helping us throughout the trip!!

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