I must confess that my second concern on the trip to Russia was how to use the moscow metro. The first was how to go through immigration and you can read how it went here. I read several reports that it was difficult and confusing, especially since most of the information is written in Russian or Cyrillic script. Something very different and difficult for us.
To reduce your worries, I won’t say that it’s super easy to use the Moscow metro, but it was a lot less complicated than I imagined and I developed a method of my own to get around, which I’ll explain better throughout this post and certainly it will help you a lot.
About the Moscow Metro
Riding the metro in Moscow is a tourist attraction, because the stations are considered the most beautiful in the world. They look more like museums or art galleries than subway stations. So much so that it is known as the Underground Palace.
The Moscow Metro (Russian: Московский Mетрополитен) opened in the Stalin Era in 1935, at the time it had one line, but today there are 12 lines that cut the city end to end, plus a monorail, trams and the Moscow Central Circle. .
The Moscow Metro is always full, it is the busiest in the world, with more than 9 million people transported per day. But I never took the trains that were absurdly full, I think that because of the number of lines and stations, this mass of people ends up being well distributed. Another detail is that the trains pass every minute, which certainly contributes to the good flow of passengers.
How to use the Moscow Metro
purchase of tickets
This was the easiest part of the entire Moscow Metro experience, the purchase process is very simple and intuitive. The sale is made on machines that have two languages: Russian and English.
First, of course, you will choose the language and then 3 options will appear: 1 pass, 2 passes or recharge. The recharge option is for those who have the Troika Card, which you can buy at the ticket office with the attendants for 35 Rubles, but hey, be prepared because they don’t speak English. That’s why I bought passes for 1 or 2 trips before boarding. The pass is valid for 90 minutes and unlimited connections after validation at the turnstiles and costs 55 Rubles (approximately 3 reais).
After choosing the option, it’s time to make the payment. Most machines only accept coins and bills. Newer machines accept credit card payment. The machine issues the card and returns the change, if any.
Arriving at the turnstile, just swipe the card so that it opens and the number of trips remaining on your card will appear on the display.
Using the Moscow Metro
First you will need a subway map. I got mine from the Moscow Guide that is distributed at the airport, where the names of the stations are in Latin alphabet, but get the map that has both alphabets so you can find your way better. All hotels also have these maps. See the map here.
Now comes the hardest part, but don’t be scared, okay? Some stations only have one line, others have up to 3 lines. The problem is that for each line, the station has a different name.
For example, the station on the red line that runs alongside the Kremlin is called Okhotny Riyadh (Охотный ряд) and it is integrated with the green and blue lines. In green it is called Theatricalnaya (Театральная) and in blue Ploschad Revolyutsii (Площадь Революции). Why that? Because there are actually 3 different stations and they are interconnected by underground tunnels, so each one has a different name.
Lines are named by numbers, colors and by their names. As locating by names is more complicated, it is worth orienting yourself by the numbers of the lines and their colors. Then just follow the signs until you find your line. The station signs are all in Russian, to know which direction to go, I identified the final destination in that direction, and already knowing that the station I wanted to get off was in that direction, I just got on board. And it worked, I never got lost on the subway.
Inside the trains, the map of the stations on that line are in both alphabets, so it was easy to find my stop.
That way I was able to use the Moscow Metro a lot. Everywhere I went, I took the subway, even to Izmailovo, a remote neighborhood to visit their Kremlin. I even took a tour of the most beautiful stations jumping from line to line.
Always like this, identifying the final destination of the train that was going in that direction and knowing that my station was in that direction, there was no mistake.
– Before entering the stations, you will have a security control with a metal detector and sometimes bags and backpacks are searched, but it’s quiet.
– Always give way to the elderly, pregnant women or people with disabilities, especially babuskasRussian ladies who will curse you a lot if you don’t give up your seat to them.
– Watch out for purses and wallets, despite Moscow being a safe city, you can’t let your guard down anywhere.
– Never face guards or security guards, they don’t like it and you can get in trouble with them.
– On the subway, Russians are super orderly, always on the right side of the long escalators and always waiting for all passengers to get out of the carriages before boarding.
– The stations are real labyrinths, to find the exit, follow the signs: Выход.
– Opening hours are from 6 am to 1 am.
Official site: http://transport.mos.ru/en/
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