Moscow is famous for its red walls, its snowy winters and its excellent public transport system. Although it is home to over 12 million people, Moscow’s public transportation has been hailed as being amongst the best and most efficient in the world. Whether it is bus, tram, underground, trolley bus, marshrutka (fixed route minibuses) or train, the prices are cheap, the journey is brief and despite the severe weather that hits Moscow, virtually always on time and in service. And if public transport is not for you, simply stick out your arm and you will have a choice of 3 or 4 taxis within seconds. You will never find yourself without a method of getting from A to B in Moscow!
The intercity train lines span from one end of the country to the other, making Vladivostok a mere (one week!) train ride away. International connections have never been easier, with more and more airlines including Moscow amongst their destinations.
Forget travelling by car or taxi, Moscow's incredibly extensive underground metro system is by far the easiest, quickest and most efficient way to travel around the Russian capital.
Moscow Metro, buses, trolleybuses and trams
Moscow's system of buses, trams and trolleybuses, as well as its world-famous metro, are now all accessible with a single 'Troika' card. The card costs 50Rbl (refundable upon return to a cashier), and can be topped up with any sum of money at a Metro cash desk. The Troika ticket is simple, convenient and also offers discounted rates for your travels: 30Rbl one-way by metro, and 29Rbl for the bus or tram. You can read more about the advantages of a Troika card on www.troika.mos.ru/en.
If you prefer to pay for single trips, one-way tickets can be bought for 50Rbl at metro cash desks or in a bus or tram. Don’t forget to enter in the front of the bus/tram/trolleybus so you can pass the ticket-operated turnstile.
If you’re taking the metro, you’ll rarely have to wait long for a train: the Moscow metro is busy, fast and efficient. Make sure to swipe your card first and then push the barrier. Operating hours are from 06:00 until 01:00. Plan your trip in advance on www.mosmetro.ru.
Moscow has a monorail?! You somehow get the feeling that Moscow was sold this odd transport option by an entrepreneur with a moustache. Why is it so short? Why is there only one? The monorail runs between VDNKh metro station on the orange line to Timiryazevskaya metro on the silver line.
TaxisTaxis in Moscow can be relatively cheap compared to other Western capitals. If you phone a legitimate taxi company, you’ll be quoted an exact price for the journey.
New Moscow Taxi, tel. (+7) 495 780 67 80, www.newmoscowtaxi.ru
New Yellow Taxi, tel. (+7) 495 940 88 88, www.nyt.ru
TaxiEscort, tel. (+7) 495 622 20 20, www.taxiescort.ru
Taxi Shanson, tel. (+7) 495 225 31 31, www.tshanson.ru
XXL taxi, tel. (+7) 495 995 82 94, www.xxltaxi.ru
It's also accepted practice to hail down random cars and negotiate even cheaper prices for rides across the city. To indicate you're looking for a lift, stick out your arm - palm down. To foreigners, the practice may seem unsafe and it is advisable to take caution by traveling with a companion and generally trusting your instinct. Mostly, drivers are notorious for overcharging foreigners. A journey within the city centre should cost between 250-500Rbl. Always agree to a price in advance ('Skolko?') and if the driver refuses, slam the door and move on to the next Lada.
Car RentalAwful roads, revolting traffic, invisible road signs, a population that largely does not even sit a test to get their licence, not to mention the police.... if you want to get out of the city - your way... here are some people who'll give you a car. You need a driver's licence from your home country, passport and credit card to walk away with a vehicle.
Driving in RussiaSurely a task for committed road friends and their indestructible cars, driving in Russia is a feat not to be compared with driving in other countries.Don't forget your national and international driving permit, registration and insurance documents for your car and of course your passport with visa. At the border, ask for an Immigration Card and make sure it is stamped!
Traffic police (recognisable by ДПС, ГИБДД or ГАИ) may fine you for not having a fire extinguisher or for speeding. On highways this varies between 80 - 110 km/h.Once you arrive in Moscow though, things are looking up with streets and highways befitting a capital city. The MKAD (Moscow Automobile Ring Road) will be one of the first things encountered, it circles the city at a distance of 109km. The speed limit is 100km/hr on the MKAD, although don't be surprised to see people well exceeding that.
Other road tips:
- Watch out for drivers overtaking from both right and left on large roads - in Russia apparently that is perfectly normal.
- Be very attentive when driving on the highways between cities. Potholes are a frequent hazard and not all road markings have stood up to the test of time.
- In some rural areas (particularly on the road between Moscow and St. Petersburg for example) you will find the highway becomes a three-lane road and that every few kilometres the middle lane becomes an overtaking lane for different streams of traffic. If you don't pay attention it can mean you are driving into incoming traffic so keep your eyes open!
- Oncoming cars may occasionally flash their headlights at you. Usually it is to warn you that there is a speed camera or police car ahead.
- Be very careful at zebra crossings, particularly in villages where locals are prone to spring suddenly from the shadows.