St Petersburg Practical Information: Public Transport

St Petersburg Practical Information: Public Transport
28 May 2014

This week’s practical information is all about public transport within the city. There’s a wide range of ways to get around the city and although you can do it on foot, of course, the public transport here is cheap and efficient and definitely worth using.

The metro is the most obvious choice: with five lines in operation and a sixth under construction, the metro system is extensive and cheap and the quickest way to get around the city. Trains run daily from 5.30am until 1am, but don’t forget that the connections between the lines close around 00.30am – in particular, the connections between Mayakovskaya and Ploschad Vosstaniya on the green and red lines and between Gostiny Dvor and Nevsky Prospect on the green and blue lines. Where the lines cross, the stations have different names depending on the line, even though the stations are the same place so don’t get too confused! For example: Mayakovskaya and Ploschad Vosstaniya are the same place, just with different names for the green and red lines.

Tokens for the metro can be purchased at any metro station, and currently cost 28 roubles for one ride. Once you’re down the escalators you can travel on the metro for as long as you like and as far as you like on the one ticket, so bear this in mind if you want to do a tour of the beautiful metro stations throughout the city.
You can also buy travel cards with set number of trips on them, for example 40 trips in 30 days, which saves you time and money when you travel. These set trip cards can only  be used on the metro, but you can buy combination cards that you top up, which you can use on all forms of public transport across the city, except for the marshrutkas.
As well as the metro, St Petersburg has an extensive network of buses and trams that reach almost every part of the city. The buses are often very busy and can run at irregular intervals, but you shouldn’t have to wait more than ten minutes at a bus stop for a  bus to come along. The buses and trams run daily from 5.30am to 1am like the metro. Tickets are available from the conductor, who walks up and down the bus making sure everyone pays. Don’t sit in their seat! The price for each ride is fixed, and doesn’t depend on the distance travelled or the time and is 25 roubles per ticket. This also applies to the bus to the airport.
Trolleybus routes No. 1, 7 and 10 offer a “sightseeing” trip along Nevsky Prospect, and at 25 roubles, it’s the cheapest city tour you’ll find, although there isn’t any commentary.
If you’re looking to get somewhere in a hurry or with a lot of bags, you can take a taxi there as well. Licensed taxis are usually painted yellow and carry a chequered logo on the sides and a taxi sign on the roof. There are many private companies running, the most common of which is 6,000,000 taxis – simply dial 6,000,000 and order your taxi! Prices vary so it’s a good idea to haggle a bit, but a taxi to the airport is generally about 600 roubles.
You may have heard about “gypsy cabs”, a phenomenon which is common amongst the locals, where people hitch rides from strangers and pay them a bit for the journey. While this is common practice, it’s very dangerous and not recommended! Don’t accept a lift from a strange driver, especially outside restaurants and nightclubs.
Marshrutkas are the final form of public transport, well loved by the locals. These operate like buses, but are minivans that drive along certain routes and will drop you off wherever you want to go along that route. A trip is usually 30 roubles, and you can identify marshrutkas by the K they have on the side. When you want to get out, just ask the driver to stop.
While it’s wonderful to walk around the city and take in the sights in the sunshine, if it’s rainy and cold or you need to get somewhere in a hurry, the St Petersburg public transport is there for you!

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