One of the ways to orient yourself about St. Petersburg is to learn about its transportation system. As an international student, learning this will help you get acclimatized to daily life in the city.
Public conveyances in St. Petersburg are similar to other Russian cities and other countries. But there are certain unique rides like Marshrutka or minibuses to get to suburban zones.
Here’s a short guide to public transportation in St. Petersburg:
While not as fancy as Moscow’s metro network, St. Petersburg’s metro can rival most subways in the world. Fun fact: it’s the world’s deepest subways so expect seating views atop the underground network.
Signs at the metro also have English translations written below them. As per the waiting time, it takes about two to three minutes for a train to arrive.
A one-way ticket will cost you around $1. If you think you’ll frequent the metro, get a monthly pass for only around $40.
St. Petersburg is overflowing with trams, having more operating units than any other city in the world. After all, it’s not called the “city of trams” for nothing!
You can easily spot trams with that distinct letter “T” sign over the tracks. You can pay in cash to the conductor once you board or use your monthly pass if you have one.
Note that conductors also check around to see if you’ve paid for your ticket already. Just simply show your ticket as proof and you’re all good.
Taking the bus is great if you want to get to places that the metro can’t reach. It’s also cheap, plus the city has an extensive network of buses, so you can board one even on busy days.
The problem is, the signs on the buses (which shows the route) are only written in Cyrillic. You’ll need more solid Russian reading skills if you want to ride a bus with zero trouble. Alternatively, you can use Google Maps to see stops and common bus routes to get to your destination.
You can buy your ticket from the conductor in cash or tap with your electronic pass. The conductor might check your card again after you’ve boarded and paid.
A marshrutka or marshrutka taksi is a minibus that follows a fixed route. These are also the cheapest rides to get to and from the airport.
A fleet of marshrutka may be hard to use in the city centers, but they’re the best option in suburban areas. If you don’t know what they look like, think of the small minivan that you’ll often see in Asia or the Middle East.
You can be picked up and dropped off by a marshrutka driver at a designated bus stop. Just note that you need to at least learn basic travel phrases when riding these buses, so you can tell the driver when to let you alight.
Public transportation in St. Petersburg is efficient and easy to use without the staggering travel costs. Want to learn more about the mass transit system in other Russian cities? See our other articles here at MSM Unify.