Moscow: Metro – Buses – Taxis
One of the first questions a new visitor to Moscow asks is how to get from the airport to other parts of the city. There are two international airports in Moscow, Sheremetyevo (SVO) and Domodedovo (DME), each serving millions of passengers every month. We recommend the “red train” which is the AeroExpress.
A schedule and prices can be found here: http://www.aeroexpress.ru/en/forPassengers/prices.htm
The famous Moscow Metro, known around the word for it’s vastness as well as it’s beauty. Nothing else, whether in New York or Paris or……can rival this magnifiicent transportation system. The New York subway for example, is mere child’s play compared to the size, daily ridership, and extent of the Moscow Metro.
Sometimes you’ll enter thru glass doors (very heavy so watch out!) and enter a hallway with turnstiles, and other times you’ll descend from street level thru a walkway before entering the station.
Many Metro entrances are street level and you’ll enter thru large and very heavy doors, like the ones seen below.
Next, see the narrow concrete tracks to the left of where the babushka is selling flowers? Those, sometimes concrete and sometimes metal, are the “wheel chair ramp.
Spend enough time in a Russian city and eventually you’ll slip and fall on those when not paying attention. Hopefully the worst of injuries will be bruised knees and ego. They’re especially tricky in winter with snow and ice.
In an understreet entry like this one you’ll quickly see underground kiosks. These are before you’ve actually entered the station. You can buy everything from batteries to watches to perfumes to toothpaste to pantyhose to…..you get the idea. These are very small kiosks with just enough room for a person and the merchandise. You conduct shopping thru a sliding window.
When you enter the Metro station Lobby you must stop to purchase a ticket.
They’re so cheap its best to buy a pass that will allow you multiple rides instead of the hassle of buying a ticket each ride. Current ticket prices can be found in English here: http://engl.mosmetro.ru/pages/page_0.php?id_page=8
Insert your pass in the turnstile and it comes back to you. Follow the directions as shown below.
Coming off the escalator you’ll be at the platform areas. Take a Metro Map with both English and Russian to compare the station signs because no directions are posted in English.
The Moscow Metro is not only the largest and second-busiest (Tokyo is first) in the world averaging 8-9 million passengers daily, but it is the most elegant and beautiful too.
Station names are posted on the walls of each platform.
So, with trains going each direction, how do you know if you’re riding toward your destination, or further away from it in the wrong direction. Again, your map in English/Russian is critical, but here is some additional help because let’s face it, it would be nice to know whether you’re coming or going!
Easy. Just LISTEN. (http://mic-ro.com/metro/files/msk2-1.wav) On all lines you can determine the direction of the train by the gender of the announcer: on the ring line, a male voice indicates clockwise travel, and a female voice counter-clockwise.
On the radial lines, travellers heading toward the centre of Moscow will hear male-voiced announcements, and travellers heading away from the centre of the city hear female-voiced announcements.
How does one find the next stations down the line? There are currently 11 lines with 180 stations so make sure to print one of the maps we’ve provided with both Russian and English lettering. Many of the Metro stops are transfer stations making it possible to connect with other lines. Along the top row are the next stations and underneath the transfer lines listed with the stations in each line.
The Koltsevaya line (Circle Line, #5) is unlike other lines of Moscow Metro in that there are no stations which service the line exclusively; rather, all of the Circle Line stations are transfer stations linking passengers to other lines.
The Metro is open from about 5:30 until 1:00 (the opening time may vary at different stations according to first train schedule but all stations close for entrance simultaneously at 1:00). During peak hours, trains run roughly every 90 seconds on most lines.
Off peak hours run between 3.5 and 7 minutes. Each line is identified by a number, a name and a colour. The Metro has approximately 300 km of rail, 12 lines and 180 stations; on a normal weekday it carries 8 to 10 million passengers. Each day some 9915 trains operate between 5am – 1am.
Metro maps: This first one is interactive. You can plot routes and become familiar, try various options, etc. Try it, the Russian names are in Cyrillic but under each station name in gray is the name in English – http://engl.mosmetro.ru/flash/scheme01.html
As that interactive map is flash based you can’t copy it. So here is a map to copy and print: http://coldstreams.com/pevesttales/uploaded_images/275px-Moscow_metro-709029.png With this map you should be able to click on the map and it enlarges for easier reading. It has the Cyrillic names in black and the Latin alphabet (English) names in grey.
One of the famous stations near the Mendeleyev Journal is just up the line, Метро Чкаловская (Metro Chkalovskaya). The name is shared with a Moscow neighborhood (Чкаловской/Chkalovskoi) however the district isn’t near the Metro station.
Метро Чкаловская was named for the after the famous Soviet aviator Валерий Павлович Чкалов (Valery Pavlovich Chkalov) who was a Red Army airforce test pilot and received the “Hero of the Soviet Union” award in 1936. In 1937 he successfully completed a 63-hour flight from Moscow to Vancouver, Washington (USA) via the North Pole flying a Tupolev ANT-25 plane.
It was at least in part due to men like Chkalov who popularized the concept of Josef Stalin as “Father” to every Soviet citizen. In fact, Chkalov published an article titled “Our Father” about Stalin soon after becoming the first person to fly from Moscow to the United States.
Valeriy Chkalov died in December of 1938, before the Great Patriotic War with Germany. The Metro station named in his honour is on the Lyublinskaya Line and is a transfer station to the Kurskaya-Koltsevaya and the Kurskaya-Radialnaya radial of the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line. It also offers access to Moscow’s Kurskiy Rail Terminal.
There are some Moscow Metro stations which you absolutely must see! These include:
Площадь Революции – Plaza of the Revolution
While Moscow Metro subway trains mostly run underground, the Monorail is an elevated system, riding above city streets.
With all those wires overhead, an electric троллейбус (t-r-o-l-l-e-y b-u-s) is quieter than a gas or diesel engine. However an electric engine does have sounds of its own. Come along for a ride and listen as each stop/street is announced along the way.
Did you enjoy the ride?
Taxi Mini-Vans/Маршрутка (marshrutka)
Next let’s talk about those little taxi mini vans running all over most cities and towns.
A town of any size will have taxi mini-vans (marshrutkas) which drive specific routes, generally starting at Metro stations. The price is the same for everyone so you won’t be gouged. They typically seat 10 to 12 riders and you can request a stop at any time. This would be the driver to show your written sign.
Each van has its own route so watch the numbers on the side of the van and you’ll figure out the system in no time. Pay upon finding a seat by passing the fare from person to person up to the front. If your amount is wrong the other riders will tell you. Riders will often help you make correct change.
The price is usually posted on the interior doors or windows.
For readers who want a professional taxi service, click here.