Moscow's magnificent public transportation system was constructed during Stalin's rule to be the "people's palaces". Gorgeous architecture, elegant design, and a lavish use of marble, mosaics, sculptures and chandeliers makes this simply a must-see stop for visitors. Two of the most interesting stations are Komsomolskaya and Novoslobodskaya. The latter is especially deep and was used as a makeshift assembly hall for a Party meeting marking the anniversary of the Revolution during the Nazi bombardments in the winter of 1941.
Moscow's Metro contains twelve lines with a total of 177 stations. The Metro is one of the deepest subway systems in the world and has the longest escalators in Europe. It is also one of world's busiest serving more than nine million passengers daily. As the population continues to expand, the Metro has big plans to grow with the city.
The metro is open from 6am to 1am. Before 7am and after 7pm the metro is rarely busy. During the busy times, there is considerable jostling. The metro is safe, but crimes like pickpocketing are common. If there appears to be danger, get in the car closest to the conductor. There are also beige boxes with a grill and a black button near doors that can be used to alert the conductor or his assistant that you are in need of help.
It is easiest to navigate the lines by referring to numbers rather then color. Signs are usually only in Russian. A single trip costs 22 rubles, independent of the length of the trip. Tickets are sold only at manned booths within the stations (kassa). There are a few stations with tickets vending machines. A multi-trip card for 10 or 20 trips (10 at 200 rubles) can be convenient. There is also an unlimited monthly pass that runs by calendar month. For more information on tickets and prices, go to the official Metro site's price list.
There is allegedly a second, secret metro constructed during the time of Stalin. It was supposedly codenamed D-6 by the KGB. This system is said to parallels the public Moscow Metro.
More convenient for those living outside of the center and in the suburbs and satellite cities is the extensive tram system. This is a system that is historically significant and maps of its many different stages can be examined. There is an elaborate route map that can be read through the use of symbols.
Buses run to a number of towns and cities within 700km of Moscow, but are also not as reliable and less comfortable than traveling by train. Fares are comparable with kupeny (2nd-class) train fares. To buy domestic tickets, go to Moscow's long-distance bus terminal, the Shchyolkovsky bus station.
There are also private bus lines:
Russia has an elaborate train system that connects most of its major cities and Moscow is well connected through this system. Moscow is also the western terminus of the Trans-Siberian Railway, which covers nearly 9,300 kilometres (5,779 mi) of Russian territory to Vladivostok on the Pacific coast.
Train tickets are relatively cheap and the usual mode of transportation for Russians, especially when departing to Saint Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city. There are long-distance and suburban trains.
Moscow also has two passenger terminals, South River Terminal and North River Terminal (or Rechnoy vokzal).
There are nine other train stations, 8 of them offering long-distance and local train services (Savyolovsky Station offers local train service only).
These last three are all located on one huge square, informally known as the "Three Stations' Square". There are long lines to enter or exit the Metro at peak times, as people are getting off or on the commuter trains.
There are five primary commercial airports serving Moscow:
In most of Russia, the difference between hailing a cab and simply hitchhiking is almost non-existent. It is an old Russian tradition for drivers to offer rides to strangers for a fee. This makes hailing a cab fairly easy no matter time of day and where you are. Hold your hand out low by your hip, not up in the air. Beware that few drivers will speak English. Normally you tell the driver where you're going, and negotiate an amount with you naming the first price. Giving the name of the closest Metro stop usually makes things easier. If riding in one of these unofficial "cabs", there is no standard practice and you ride at your own risk.
Most destinations should be reachable within the Garden Ring for 200 rubles or less, unless it's a high time (national holiday or hours when metro is not running).
Official taxis may be recognized by their checkerboard logo on the side and/or a small green light in the windscreen. Not all drivers uses a meter (even if the cab has one), and few will admit to having change. If you book a taxi over the phone (hotel staff will do this for you if you don't speak Russian), the dispatcher will normally ring back within a few minutes to provide a description and license number of the car. It's best to provide at least an hour's notice before you need the taxi.
As a general rule, it's best to avoid riding in cars with more than one person. Problems are more likely if you take a street cab waiting outside a nightclub, or a tourist hotel or restaurant at night. Women need to be particularly careful.
A series of channels and locks cut through Moscow to connect the Moskva River with the Volga River. This provides a waterway all the way to the Baltic Sea through the Volga-Baltic channel. Unfortunately, there is no longer scheduled passenger traffic along these routes. Raketa speed ferries were decommissioned following the 2007 season.
A river bus system is available in the warmer months. The only regular route has 7 stops, from the quay near the Kievsky rail station, downstream through the center, terminating at Novospassky bridge and back. Passenger ferries depart hourly, every day; and cost 300 rubles.
Driving in Russia is an unfiltered Russian experience. Poor roads, few signs, low-quality petrol and many highway patrolmen can make driving anywhere in Russia frustrating.
Directions to Moscow:The direct way to drive from Germany, Poland, or Bielarussia is along the E30 road. EU or American citizens have to get Belarussian visas to pass through Belarus, so the route through Latvia using the E22 road may be easier.
Access from Finland through St. Petersburg and Novgorod is along E18 road. Road from St. Petersburg to Moscow is also known as Russian Federal Highway M-10. Traffic on M-10 is heavy and driving less relaxing.
Moscow's road system is centred roughly around the Kremlin. From there, roads generally radiate outwards to intersect with a sequence of circular roads or rings. These have rotating roadblocks where teams of traffic police stop all vehicles without Moscow plates. Visitors are stopped and questioned, but cars are usually able to proceed. Foreign cars, especially expensive foreign cars, can attract unwelcome attention and more paperwork than usual.
The MKAD is one of only three freeways that run within Moscow city limits. In 1995-1997 the road was widened from the initial four to ten lanes.
Driving within Moscow is complicated at best. The streets are not accommodating to the amount of drivers that troll them everyday and Moscow's exploding population has made the entire city a traffic jam. There are over 2.6 million cars in the city on a daily basis. Most roadways are also in some state of disrepair. Drivers are also aggressive and drive close together, cutting each other frequently. Taxis are by far the most aggressive vehicles, with large buses shifting in and out of their lane regardless of their surroundings.
Parking is hard to find and just as difficult to navigate as driving. Signage is spotty at best and cars may be towed because a spot that looked ok is actually illegal. Some people become very possessive of "their" spots and will disrupt any car that parks in a space that belongs to them. For serious altercations there is the GIBDD, the road police. However, this group is notoriously corrupt. The easiest and safest places to park or at your hotel (if you are staying at one). For more places to park, try parking garages.
Motor insurance in Russia is one of the most popular insurance classes among consumers, possibly due to the high amount of property crime concerning cars.
Be aware that many firms won't let you take their cars out of the city, and others will only rent a car with a driver. A driver is not always more expensive and they can help you navigate the area and helps avoid some of the troubles foreigners have with Russian roads and police.
Most major international car-rental firms have outlets in Moscow. Advance reservations usually offer discounted prices. Prices for walk up rentals plus basic insurance are around 80 Euros per day. Major car-rental agencies will usually pick up or drop off the car at your hotel.
Address: Sheremetyevo-2 Airport, Arrival Hall
NISSAN SAAB Center
Domodedovo Airport, Arrival Hall
Reception Desk 65
Leningradskoye sh., 16/9
Krilatskaya ul., 17, str. 3
BC "Krilatskiye Kholmi"
pl. Tverskoy Zastavy, 2