By Metro, Moscow
Ok, Metro's around the world are all pretty much the same system always based on either color lines or number lines. Same thing applies to the Metro in Moscow, but the only problem in Moscow is that the signs are in Cryllic with no English translation underneath them. So trying to figure out the system is near to impossible if you don't have knowledge of Cryllic, We basically counted the number of stops we needed to go and then hoped it was the right one. Again very frustrating, not once did anyone offer to help us trying to figure out the stops. The cost of the trains is 26 rubles about .85 cents US. Ticket machines do have a button with English translations, but if there isn't a machine in site you can buy them from the counter, I went up and just indicated by hand how many tickets I wanted, again thank god numbers are universal.
The metro themselves are suppose to be attractions, there intresting but nothing any world traveler hasn't seen before.
By warned the electric stairways in and out of the metro are extremely steep, I would guess that if you took a wrong step and fell you would probably die if your lucky you could survive with a broken neck or arm or leg. be careful.
OK, now renting in the airport versus renting downtown - no difference.
Russians do not rent cars at home. If you do, you are a Westerner - see above.
Unless you have tons of luggage and plan to sleep in the car, too, I would suggest taking the railway from the airport and the metro in the city - you can count on arriving on time, the airport express is fairly civilized, and the metro gives you a good sightseeing opportunity on top of the transportation service.
We stayed in the Izmailovo suburb of Moscow and took the Metro a couple of times between ‘Izmailovo Station’ and the city centre. At the small ticket offices at the stations, we just showed on a city map where we wanted to go and the ticket seller wrote the ticket price (in rubles) on a piece of paper. We paid and received our tickets - quite easy! However, the signs inside the trains and at the stations were only written with Cyrillic letters – and our city map with place names both written with Cyrillic letters and in English was a great help to get around in Moscow.
During our rides, the light went out in the train every 5th minute, but I assume it was a daily occurrence since no Russians took any notice of it. Besides that, we had no problems and I think the Metro was a good way to get around in Moscow.
We spent some time at the Metro stations, they are decorated with marble, granite, beautiful statues, and glass chandeliers hanging from the ceilings. Amazing… No wonder they are called “underground museums” or “people’s palaces”…
The most efficient and fastest way to explore Moscow is by metro. It consists of 12 colour coded lines. During peak times the frequency is about 90 seconds.
The metro works on a flat fare, which means that you can travel with a single ticket as long as you like, if you don't leave the metro system.
In 2009 a single ticket cost 26 Rubles, but prices are usually increased every year. Smart cards for 5, 10, 20 or 60 trips are available as well.
Be prepared that everything in the metro is only written in cyrillic and metro station signs at the platforms are rare. In 2009 I noticed that at least in the carriages metro maps in both cyrillic and latin letters can be found.
So the best way to not lose orientation is to listen to the announcements on the trains. Firstly you will hear the arrival station, followed by the next station.
Another useful tip, is to listen to the voice: If it is a female voice, then the train is leaving the city centre; if it is a male voice then the train is heading towards the city centre.
At stations where two or more lines meet, the interchange stations often have different names. This can be a bit confusing. So it comes quite handy to have a metro map with the stations in both cyrillic and latin letters.
Moscow metro was the most convenient for me; it delivers you to most important sightseeing spots in the downtown. If you can hear foreign sounds and can recognize them it’s easy to use it. The only thing it’s all in Russian, no English signs, except of maps on the train, but you can figure out by arrows and colors of lines to see where you need to switch the trains.Moreover, Moscow Metro is sightseeing itself:The Moscow Metro (Russian: Ìîñêîâñêèé ìåòðîïîëèòåí, Moskovskiy metropoliten), which spans almost the entire Russian capital, is the world's second most heavily used rapid-transit system. Opened in 1935, it is well known for the ornate design of many of its stations, which contain outstanding examples of socialist realist art.The first plans for a rapid transit system in Moscow date back in the times of the Russian Empire, but they were postponed by World War I, the October Revolution and the Russian Civil War. It was not until June 1931 that the decision to start construction of the Moscow Metro was taken by the Central Committee of the USSR Communist Party. The first lines were built under the 1930s Moscow general plan designed by Lazar Kaganovich, and the Metro was initially (until 1955) named after him ("Metropoliten im. L.M. Kaganovicha"). Advice was given by the London Underground, the world's oldest metro system (partly because of this connection Gants Hill tube station, although not completed until much later, is reminiscent in design of many stations on the Moscow Metro)
The metro in Moscow is super great. The stations have quite a distance one to the next - so the metro is really a very fast way to come through Moscow, the metro run in 1-2 minute cycle, and during the 4 days I visited Moscow there was never any disturbance. I think the drivers are very skilled and they see their time difference to the next train in every station - probably they have a sort of target time difference which they manage to keep very well. Only the rolling stair cases seem to need continuous repair - you see often a defect one - typical inner city stations have 3 or 4 of them in parallel. If they fail and only 2 are left - this was the case in Park Kultury for the circle line, in some stations it might not be possible in the morning to access the station (if too many passengers arrive, 2 rolling stair cases seem to be necessary to transport out all the passengers in the time interval between 2 trains - so in such a case both rolling stair cases will be switched to upward direction).
My favourite rolling stair cases are the wooden one, they have a very interesting and nice sound, you can start dreaming of African djungle drumming there. A very nice and impressive one with numbered stairs is is Tretyakovskaya station south of Kremlin - it has 485 stairs.
The price for the 20 ride magnetic card is now 380 Rubels (August 2009).
The Moscow Metro was born May 15, 1935 with the red line Sokolniki – Park Kulturi (that’s what you know as the Gorky Park, but it's on the other side of the river) + a small bypass to Smolenskaya, 11.2 km altogether.
Metro or fullname "Moscow Metropolitan" is the fastest and the most reliable way to travel around Moscow. Metro accepts 8 mln. people per day, this is more than 3 bln. per year! Beautifull stations looking like museums. With one "-" (minus)....
It is absolutely unsutable for foreigners! 90% of signes are in Russian only. No any understandable mnemonic plates. Exchanges between lines are complicated.
Even web-site has no English page.
Here is interactive schema: http://mosmetro.ru/flash/scheme01.html
Very useful - you can click on circles of the stations to generate your way. Time calculated is too optimistic. You need to add 20%.
Taking the metro in Moscow is a sightseeing tour by itself. Many of the stations look like palaces with all the marble. mosaics and chandeliers. Apart from that it's a very effective transportation system with train running nearly every minute during peak times.
In 2005 the Moscow Metro celebrated its 60th anniversary.
My favourite stations are Komsomolskaya, Arbatskaya and Mayakovskaya.
One ride is 22 Roubles, a 5-rides ticket costs 105 Roubles (Jan. 09).
The Moscow metro system is very good to use. Some of the stations are just worth visiting on their own as a tourist attraction.
It's very cheap and the trains are very frequent. We bought ten ride multiple ticket which saved us queuing up all the time. It can however take you a while to travel around the city this way.
It has 9 different lines, which interconnect at various places. The only thing you have to worry about is keeping any eye on which station you are at because the signs station signs are in the Russian Cyrillic alphabet.
You can not buy metro tickets at the airports. In Moscow you can only buy metro tickets and passes at metro stations. Bus' tickets in special ticket kiosks and from a driver.
P.S. Don't forget to exchange rubles before this.
If you're like me, I had only a limited knowledge of the Russian language and cyrillic alphabet. Having said that, that's all you need to get by. Grab a map with numbers beside the different metro lines. Ignore the colours, because they don't actually use them on the signs (they do actually, but the names of the lines are written in cyrillic!!). Follow the line numbers, "1,2,3,4.." and memorize a few Russian words like "way out", "entrance" and so forth and you should be fine. All the stations have signs indicating next metro stop, so read what the next stop and verify on your map.
It is tough, I admit, but the system is forgiving. Every 2 minutes a new train comes by, so do not jump on a train without verifying this information. If you're like me, I couldn't really understand the Russian on the annoucements (heck, even at home I miss them sometimes). I hope that helps.
The Moscow Metro is famed for the opulence of some of its stations and there are few tourists who don't venture below the streets to look at these "palaces for the people".
It is also the most efficient way of getting around the city. With roads often clogged with traffic and a truly mysterious one-way system on many of them, the metro network will get you just about anywhere you want to go much faster and with less confusion . The trains are big, fast and very, very frequent.
There are a few things you need to get clear before you set out though.
1. A familiarity with the Cyrillic alphabet is a BIG help. Metro maps give station names in Latin as well as Cyrillic type but this isn't repeated on the station signs, though the line maps on the trains themselves sometimes do. It really pays to familarize yourself with at least the first few letters of the name of the station you are heading for so that you recognize it when you get there.
2. Count the number of stops to your destination, and keep that number in your head. The station names tend to be on the tunnel wall rather than on the platform, fine when you are waiting for the train but not so good as you are coming into the station on the train and frantically looking to see where you are.
3. Interchanges can be confusing. Unlike other cities, Moscow's stations all have individual names and entrances so when you're underground and you want to change to another line you will be looking for a new station name rather than the names of a line. The lines are colour coded and the names of the stations along the line are given, but then you're back to contending with that Cyrillic script again.
4. Buying a block of 10 or 20 rides will save you money, and if 2 of you are travelling together, you can buy 1 block and share it by simply passing the ticket back over the barrier.
5. When you think the escalator you are on is actually heading for the deepest bowels of the earth, remember that many of these stations were built to function as bomb shelters.
Without a doubt, the best way around Moscow, at almost anytime during the morning, day, or evening is by Metro. Only late at night, when the trains stop running, is the preferred option a taxi.
Once when we needed to get from Polyanka Metro downtown, I suggested taking the Metro. It would have taken maximum 10-minutes. As we had guests, my colleagues insisted that we take a car. We sat in traffic for 1 1/2 hours, I kid you not. And, that is not the exception, but day to day rush hour traffic.
The Metro is much faster. Trains come and go every minute to 2-minutes during peak times. Get ready to jump on or jump off, as the doors close quickly.
Do be prepared for some jostling in the crowds, as many people depend on the Metro to get around, and the stairs and escallators funnel all those people into a single file line to get back up to street level.
The perfect spot for pick pockets, so keep your wallet and purse well guarded.
Not only is the metro the cheapest and quickest way to get around town, it is also the most photogenic. Most metro stations are works of art, and while the new stations don't have the socialist-realist themes of the earlier ones, they blend in harmoniously with them.
In the evening, after most Moscovites are home from work and the metro is less crowded, you may want to take the time to appreciate the ornate decorations in many of the stations without being pushed or carried by the flow of people (and there are a lot of them, Moscow's metro system being one of the most heavily used in the world!).
Please note it is wise to plan your trip ahead of time and count the number of stations you need to take on each line to get to where you want to go. There are two reasons for this: 1) many signs are in Russian, making it difficult to find you way if you can't read the Cyrillic alphabet; 2) stations on multiple lines have multiple names, one for each line.
Metro tickets are cheap, especially if you buy multiple-ride tickets. We each bought a 20-trip magnetic card for our 4 days in Moscow and it turned out to be a great value. All we had to do to enter was insert our card in the scanning device, wait for the green light to come on and pick up our card. (Don't leave your card at the gate!)