Firstly, unlike in Estonia, where oil is about 1.2 euros per 1 liter , in St.Petersburg it is about 29 RUB - it is about 0.60 euros per 1 liter. So you can see the difference between countries. That's why my friend Katja said that to her the cheapest way to travel around her own town St.Petersburg is by car! And YES, car is comfortable but NOT so convenient! Daily car queues! From 09.00 AM to 21.00 PM! Queues everywhere and everytime! So you need to decide! Comfort or convenience ( subway I love you! :-) ) because you can spend hours standing in QUEUES!
There is only one way to describe driving in Russia - an unparalleled nightmare.
Despite living here for some time, and driving to work and back every day, I just cannot get to grips with the idiot mentality on Russian roads. If that sounds harsh, it was supposed to! Even the niceset, most polite, welcoming and friendly Russians can turn into monsters when put behind the wheel of a car.
Expect drivers to overtake on both sides, not use their indicators, cut you up, try and push you out of your lane using brute force, use their horns at the drop of a hat, speed down tram lines, make turnings at junctions from completely the wrong lane, deliberately use the wrong lane to get past a few cars and then try and push in at the front.... I could go on.
However, it is not just the attitude of the drivers, which makes driving in Russia so challenging:
1) Pedestrians. Watch out for these guys! You would be forgiven for thinking that many Russian pedestrians have a death-wish. They'll take the opportunity to jump out in front of you at any moment.
2) Road Conditions. Poor. Very poor. Pot-holes, bumps, gravel, unfinished repair works; you name it, they've got it. As you can imagine, in poor weather driving conditions are terrible. When its raining you get a huge amount of spray from all the puddles. When its cold, the ice and snow can make things deadly.
3) Road System. Nightmare! Roads without lane markings, lanes that disappear into thin air, a severe lack of road signs, one-way systems EVERYWHERE, no right-turns, no left-turns, lights where there shouldn't be lights, no lights where there should be lights, green lights for pedestrain crossings and for cars at the same time.... Signs are small and very dirty making them unreadable from distance, traffic lights are often not working and are very often ignored or unnoticed...
Hire a car if you really feel it absolutely necessary to your trip. But don't say I didn't warn you! :-)
It is easy to hire a car with or without driver.
It is the same price and less problems with driver. You are free this way and drive where ever you want.
You can see http://www.mapsofworld.com/cities/russia/saint-petersburg/car-hire.html
I hope it can help you.
Welcome to Russia!
I really recommend to hire a car only WITH driver!
For Airport Transfer and overall transportation around St. Petersburg, I recommend 'Transportation Service in Saint Petersburg'. We were very pleased with the service. Leonid, our driver, kept in communication with me prior to our arrival. For bigger groups, vans are available. They also offer sightseeing tours. Leonid does not only speak English well, he also knows his city well.
Up until fairly recently, there were very few cars in St. Petersburg. Because of this, parking spaces were not included in many of the designs of the streets. Now that St. Petersburg is full of cars--everyone seems to have one--there is a serious lack of places to park and there are parked cars absolutely EVERYWHERE. It is completely lawless and one of the things that the city needs to work out. But at least you won't have to worry about getting a ticket.
I never thought I'd have the guts to do this, but I guess it's quite common in St. Petersburg. If you are walking around town, and you want to get from one place to another quickly, just stick out your hand and someone in a car will pull over. They will ask where you want to go, and if you are going their way, they will take you along if you kick in a few rubles. Make sure you agree on the price before you get in. I wouldn't recommend doing this by yourself, only with another companion and only if the car is empty except for the driver.
After I had checked in the St Petersburg Travellers hostel, I went for a small walk.
So walked along the Sadovaya Ulitsa (Ulitsa = street), I noticed that there was a lot of traffic.
At one crossing the situation was so chaotic, all cars were standing still, and the complete crossing was blocked. It was like a big jigsaw puzzle of cars, it was a funny sight.
So I think it must not be so handy to make your transfers in the city centre by car or by taxi, as traffic can be very busy.
If you wish and if you can afford it, you can use the limousine service here, they seem to be very popular.