THE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM IN ST PETERSBURG is excellent! The city hosts an intricate system of buses, trolleybuses, trams, taxis, petty cabs, marshrutkas (small shuttles) and everyone’s favorite, the metro. The system usually runs smoothly and quickly, with one being able to get to a destination without a problem. The system of public transportation in St. Petersburg fits like a glove in the city. The city itself is quite big, but along the busiest streets of St. Petersburg, one can use public transportation to get to a destination even in the worst traffic in a reasonable time. This all being said, the only problem is how to figure out how to get from one place to another.
The metropolitan system in St. Petersburg is simply beautiful. Its stations and halls are adorned with marble, paintings, and other beautiful fixtures that make every station unique in its own sense. It is by far the busiest form of transportation in the city, but the most popular and the fastest form. With tokens available for 25 rubles for one way, it proves to be a valuable but crowded commodity in the city. It is a great way to see the deepest metro in the world, as its lanes go below the rivers and canals of St. Petersburg. Multiple use cards are also available for purchase. Some of the nicest stations are Nevskiy Prospect, Plosshad Vostaniya, and several of the newer stations in the metro system. Each station is marked with several maps, which are in English and Russian. Also, there are signs that signal which way to go to find a different line if the station has transfers to other lines. The metro is easily findable on the street, as the stations are marked with a small sign with a blue “M”. Advertisers handing out flyers, usually have small metro maps on the back of advertisements. But travelers beware; pick pocketing is a danger in the metro, as hooligans and small groups of teens especially target tourists.
BUSES AND TROLLEYBUSES
The bus and trolleybus systems in St. Petersburg are also very good. Although one may have to wait a few minutes in the day to catch a bus, the buses usually come regularly and are a dependable way to get you where you want to go. The cost for one way on the buses is 21 rubles, which you can pay when you enter the bus. Some of the newer buses are fitted with televisions and electronic signs to tell you where you are going. On a window in the bus will be a sign stating which stops the bus will make on its journey. The small bus stops also have signs stating the stops the bus will make. These buses have a number on the front or side, if they have a K before the number, then it is a commercial bus or marshrutka.
Trams in St. Petersburg are usually located a little farther from the city center. They run in ordinary traffic on the streets, but sometimes they are free to travel on their own tracks. The fare for the trams is 21 rubles. These are more comfortable than buses and trolleybuses, as they don’t always travel in regular traffic. You can find the destinations of the trams in a window with a sign stating all the stops on the way.
TAXIS AND PETTY CABS
Taxis in St. Petersburg are just like in any other city. From the airport, they are very expensive. But if you find yourself out past midnight, the metro, buses, and trams usually all stop working. So the best option is to find a taxi or petty cab. Petty cabs can usually be waved down, and are usually operated by people who just want to make a little extra cash. This is the hardest form of transportation in the city, as one can be ripped off by the cost, or if one does not speak fluent Russian, than it is suggested to use a different form of transportation.
The marshrutkas, or small shuttles, are found everywhere in St. Petersburg. These are small buses or vans that take people to a certain destination all around the city. These vans or buses are usually marked with a K, then a few numbers. Marshrutkas are typically a fast option for transport, but can get crowded. The drivers are not the most careful in the world, as you can find yourself going from one side of the van to the other quickly. Sharp turns to the drivers are not important. Only getting to the destination in good time. The cost for a marshrutka is usually around 30 rubles. There are also marshrtukas going to Finland from Plosshad Vosstaniya, which are quick and quite comfortable. They cost around 30 euro but are convenient if you don’t want to take a train.
There are two main train stations in St. Petersburg: Finlandskiy Vokzal and Moskovskiy Vokzal. These two stations are hard to miss, as they are both located in populated parts of the city, Ploshad Lenina and Ploshad Vosstaniya respectively. Trains run usually in the evening and nights, but its possible to take one during the day. New in Russia is the “sapsan” train. It is a new bullet train that links St. Petersburg to Moscow. The length of an ordinary trip on an ordinary train will usually take 8 hours. On the sapsan train, it will take around 3 hours. For Finland, it usually takes about 5-6 hours to get to Helsinki from St. Petersburg.