Bus and Coach Travel in Russia

Information on getting around the country using the bus and coach networks...

Buses can be a cheap way of travelling, but they are less comfortable than trains for long journeys and there are often long queues to buy tickets. In the cities, however, they provide services to areas not easily accessible by metro or train, as well as useful links into these systems. Services are provided by a mix of public and private bus companies, with no central organisation, so it is not easy to find information. Check on bus stops for information on where and when buses depart and arrive, or at the central bus station.

Tickets can be bought onboard, although drivers seldom give change. So either ensure that you have the exact amount or be prepared to overpay. Tickets can be bought as singles or in books of multiple tickets (the greater the number, the cheaper each ticket) from kiosks on the street with a sign saying “proezdnyue bilety” (public transportation tickets). These kiosks are often located outside or inside metro stations.

Bus tickets are interchangeable with those for trams and trolleybuses. Before gaining access to most public transportation in Moscow, passengers have to swipe their tickets through barriers. Buses are usually boarded by the front door and exited by the rear.

Marshrutka

Actually half-minibus, half-taxi, the marshrutka (?????????) offers a taxi-like service on fixed routes that are flexible about where they pick up and drop off passengers. They sometimes follow bus routes, but also run elsewhere. Prices are similar to those for buses, with just one fare for a journey regardless of how long it is, and are payable after boarding. Wave from the roadside to stop one, then to get off, just shout when approaching the destination. The main stops are shown on a sign in the window.

Taxis

Official taxis cannot be stopped in the street, but need to be ordered in advance. Prices are not always charged by meter, so need to be agreed when booking or before setting off. Most drivers don’t speak much English, so it can be worthwhile asking a Russian speaker to order a taxi and to write the destination address in Russian.

Expats will often be given higher starting prices than Russians, so it is a good idea to have a rough idea of what the charge should be for a specific journey before travelling – and be prepared for some haggling.