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TRANSPORT
 

Airports | Railways | Coaches (Buses) | Sea travel | Local transport

 
Local transport
 
Metro (Subway) | Trams | Buses | Trolleybuses | Taxis

The network of public transportation in St. Petersburg is quite extensive. The resources of public transportation are quite over-stretched, and most public transport is not particularly user-friendly. Nonetheless, the metro is a very reliable and cost-effective way of medium and long-distance transportation. It is also good for journeys within the downtown area. For the shorter trips you are more likely to use trams,buses and trolleybuses, or taxis (if you have money to spare). If you come on business or with a large family, you might also consider renting a car or a van (with driver or without).

In this section you will find all necessary details on St. Petersburg's publictransportation.

If you book a tour at our agency, we shall provide you with transport pending yourstay in St.Petersburg, Russia.

METRO (Subway, Underground)

St. Petersburg's metro is perhaps not as majestic as the one in Moscow, yet it looks more impressive than most other subways and undergrounds of the world. It is also the deepest subway in the world.

Despite the recent funding problems the metro is still the most reliable city transport(particularly convenient for long-distance journeys). Normally trains arrive every 2-3 minutes, with slightly longer waiting periods early in the morning and late at night. Notethe changes in the metro opening times: on average the stations open at about 5:45 am. and close between midnight and 0:30 am. You can transfer from one line to the other until 0:15am.

ORIENTATION

St. Petersburg's metro has four lines which are numbered and assigned specific colors on a metro map. Line 1 is red, Line 2 - blue, Line 3 - green and, finally, Line 4 is yellow. You can find English language metro maps in most printed city guides.

Line 1 has the most beautiful stations and thus is perfect for "metrosightseeing".

Note that some metro stations may be open according to individual schedules due torepairs.

N.B.: The Northern edge of Line 1 was broken into two parts in December 1995, when one of the tunnels collapsed. If you travel North-East from downtown by metro, you will have to get from Lesnaya to Ploschad Muzhestva stations by a free shuttle bus #80.

St.Petersburg Metro Map

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ENTERING METRO

Unless you buy a monthly pass (called kartochka or proyezdnoy) you pay by tokens, whichcan be purchased at special counters or booths located at every station. These booths also sell monthly metro passes and passes which allow you to use all forms of public transport(yediny or yedinaya kartochka).

There are two types of entry gates at metro stations, but the old ones quickly disappear. New gates accept both tokens and monthly / 10 journey passes, while in the pastyou had to use different gates.

To enter the metro do the following:

IF YOU USE TOKENS: place your token in the entry gate (with your right hand), wait for the token to drop, then walk through, or

IF YOU HAVE A MONTHLY / 10 JOURNEY PASS: insert your monthly/10 journey plastic pass into the slot of a gate. When the card is ejected, walk through. If you have anyproblems with a gate, take your card to the member of station staff on duty, who cannormally be found in a glass booth near the entry gates.

HISTORY OF ST. PETERSBURG METRO

The first plans to build a metro in St. Petersburg were drawn in 1899, but were notimplemented due to the outbreak of WWI and then the Revolution of 1917. In 1941, 8 yearsafter the Moscow metro was opened, building was started on the Leningrad metro, but a few months later the U.S.S.R. was forced to enter WWII. After the war the construction workresumed and the first metro line (from Avtovo to Ploschad Vosstania) was opened onNovember 15, 1955. Since then the metro network has grown to four lines with an average of1.9 km (1.19 miles) between its 55 stations.

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BUSES

The bus network of St. Petersburg is extensive, but can be a bit confusing for aforeigner. Bus stops are marked by signs with the letter "A", which stands foravtobus. Currently the city has several types of buses:

Regular buses now have conductors on board. You should pay for your ticket in cash to a conductor or show him/her your monthly pass.

T-buses (Taxi-buses) accept cash only and no passes are valid on them. Since theycharge a bit more than regular buses, T-buses rarely become crowded.

E-buses (Express buses) are normally coaches, which are supposed to be faster and more comfortable. They accept cash only and can skip stops if nobody wants to board or exit the bus (So be sure to tell the driver that you need the next stop). Currently thesebuses are twice as expensive as the metro.

Plus there are vans, which are called "marshrutniye taksi" or"marshrutki". These are more popular in the newer districts of the city. You will be charged 2-3 rubles when you board a van, then just tell the drived, where you wanthim to stop and drop you off. With the city's attempts to make public transport morecost-effective, one should expect further spread of "marshrutki"

HISTORY OF ST. PETERESBURG BUSES

The first buses started running in St. Petersburg in 1907, when a local entrepreneuropened two bus routes, which connected the city center with two of the city's major Railway Stations. After the Revolution bus services resumed in Leningrad on December 24,1926. The first 5 buses started running from Palace Square to the Moscow Railway Stationand the whole trip lasted for only 18-20 minutes.

Bus transportation in the city reached its peak in the 1980s. In the late 1980s there were about 200 bus routes served by 3 200 buses. Every year 1 200 million passengers use city buses.

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TRAMS

One can call St. Petersburg a "City of Trams" because it has more trams than any other city in the world. Tram stops are marked with signs above the tracks (with a letter "T" on them).

Since January 1998 all trams have conductors on board. You should pay in cash to aconductor, unless you have a monthly pass. Conductors normally wear special uniform (and/or red arm bands). They check whether everybody has paid and sell tickets to those who need them. Don't be surprised to see an occasional kontrolyor - inspector, who might ask you to show your ticket.

HISTORY OF ST. PETERSBURG TRAMS

The first tram to be seen in St. Petersburg was built and tested by engineer Fiodor A.Pirotskiy in 1880 (In St. Petersburg we claim that Pirotskiy invented trams and Siemensjust marketed his idea). Horse-driven cars - called konka - had been running in St.Petersburg since 1862. By 1906 there were 150 km (93.8 miles) of track in the city and the konka carried 106 million passengers a year. Not surprisingly, konka owners fiercely opposed the introduction of electric trams in St. Petersburg. Regular tram services started on September 16, 1907. The trams were popular and soon drove the konka off thestreets. By 1917 the city's tram system operated 710 tram cars, most of which ran allthrough the hard days of the Revolution and the Civil War.

During the Soviet days Leningrad became the city with the largest tram network in theworld. The tram services were halted only briefly in December 1941 - April 1942 - the most terrible winter of the 900-day Siege of Leningrad.

By 1990 the city had 700 km (437.5 miles) of track and 2 200 tram cars. In 1990 alone the trams carried 950 million passengers.

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TROLLEYBUSES

Trolleybuses are essentially electric buses that get power from electric wires. Along with trams, trolleybuses are the most environmentally-friendly public transport in St.Petersburg, though not the fastest. They can get crowded at times, particularly during"rush-hour".

Trolleybus stops are marked with signs with blue letter "T". Show your monthly pass to a conductor otherwise pay in cash for your ticket.

HISTORY OF TROLLEYBUS IN ST. PETERSBURG

The first St. Petersburg trolleybus was test-driven by engineer P.A. Freze on March 31,1902, but regular trolleybus services did not begin until October 21, 1936. The firsttrolleybuses were built locally, though after a while the city started buying bettervehicles built in the city of Yaroslavl (on Volga River). By WWII Leningrad had 130trolleybuses, serving 5 lines. All trolleybuses stopped running during the Siege ofLeningrad and services were resumed only in May 1944.

Having the advantage of being environmentally-friendly, the trolleybus network has grown since the War. In 1990 the city had 1 300 trolleybuses that carried 550 millionpassengers a year.

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TAXIS

St. Petersburg does not have as many taxis as New York or London, but there are stillplenty of taxis in the street, catering both for budget travelers and the "nouveauriche". Perhaps to confuse you, taxis are marked in a very diverse fashion.

Here is how you can identify a taxi:

- some taxis are painted bright yellow
- some taxis have an orange checkered light on the roof
- some taxis have green lights in the upper-left corner of windshield and the light is on when the cab is available
- the more expensive taxis might have yellow "Taksi" signs on the roof.

HISTORY OF ST. PETERSBURG TAXIS

The first taxis appeared on St. Petersburg streets in 1906, and for about 30 years theycoexisted with regular horse-drawn cabs - izvozchiki. The number of taxis grew quickly and by 1913 there were 328 cars serving as taxis. All such cars were equipped with meters and had yellow stripes and taxi signs on the sides.

During the 1917 Revolution all taxis were confiscated for the needs of the Red Army andthe government. The taxi service in the city was reintroduced only in 1929. A year laterthe city had 83 taxis which people could use after 5 pm only (this regulation, however,was short-lived).

In 1990 the city had 4 500 taxis which served about 150 thousand people a day. The lastseveral years have seen an emergence of private taxis and even private taxi companies,though the number of people who can afford to use taxis has sharply declined.

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St.Petersburg Guide
 
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