Russian minivans — Marshrutki

We want to show you something that is illegal in Russia, but common.

Most Russian towns of any size have some developed transportation such as electric trolley trains, buses, etc. Another option is a legal minibus, called Marshrutki (Маршрутки). These minivans are privately owned but licensed by a city to run the same route as larger city buses but provide express service with fewer stops. The passenger pays a little more for the express minibuses but arrives at their destination faster. Of course the passenger can also choose to pay less and ride on the larger buses which are slower with more stops.

Another form of transportation is the “gypsy taxi” so-named because they’re non-licensed and thus illegal for a gypsy taxi to mimic the same route as official transport. Neither are they supposed to use city bus stops and shelters to pick up passengers. But they do. Private passenger cars on their way pick up passengers for a fee. The driver pulls over, the passenger announces where he/she wants to go and the driver earns some extra money on the way to work.

In this video the camera is inside a (Маршруткa), a licensed minivan operating on its assigned route. Watch closely as private cars arrive at each stop ahead of the minivan to pick up passengers that by all rights belong to the licensed minibus driver who pays the city a monthly fee for the route. Are the gypsy taxis guilt of illegal poaching of paying customers? Of course, and that is why the driver has made a video. But will it help if he takes it to authorities? Probably not.

Marshrutka, or Minibus. They are licensed to operate specific routes.

In large cities like Moscow Gypsy taxis are illegal and not supposed to operate anywhere, but the practice is common. In most smaller cities gypsy taxis are legal but drivers are not supposed to use established city routes and pick up facilities.