Bus, Tram, and Trolley Travel

Several firms operate bus routes between St. Petersburg and central Europe. A bus trip can be a reasonably comfortable way to connect with the Baltic states, Scandinavia, and Germany, although as with train travel in and out of the country, it entails a bit of waiting at the border for everyone to clear customs. The Gorodskoi Avtobusny Vokzal (City Bus Station), open from 6:30 am until 11:30 pm, sells tickets for international and domestic routes. It takes about 5–7 minutes to walk to the station from Obvodny Kanal metro station, but you might find it more convenient to go through a travel agent.

Lux Express runs coaches to Tallinn and Riga (and from these cities to destinations all over Europe). The Finnish company Finnord runs coaches between Helsinki and St. Petersburg via the border town of Vyborg. The service runs twice daily, leaving from Finnord's offices at 37 ulitsa Italyanskaya, and then stopping at half a dozen Finnish towns before reaching Helsinki.

When traveling by bus, tram, or trolley within the city, you must purchase a ticket from the conductor. A ticket valid for one ride costs 25R, regardless of the distance you intend to travel; if you change buses, you must pay another fare. You can also buy a smart card called "Podorozhnik;" costs vary, but some sample prices are 265R for a maximum of 10 rides over 7 days and 485R for 20 rides over 15 days. Buses, trams, and trolleys operate from 5:30 am to midnight, although service in the late evening hours and on Sunday tends to be unreliable.

Note that all public transportation vehicles tend to be extremely overcrowded during rush hours. It's very much the Russian philosophy that there's always room for one more passenger. Make sure you position yourself near the exits well before the point at which you want to disembark, or risk missing your stop. Buses tend to be new and reasonably comfortable. Trolleys and trams, on the other hand, sometimes give the impression that they're held together with Scotch tape and effort of will, and can be extremely drafty.

Bus, Tram, and Trolley Contacts

The City Bus Station (36 nab. Obvodnovo kanala, Vladimirskaya, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 192007. 812/766–5777 information. www.avokzal.ru. Metro: Obvodny Kanal.)

Finnord (37 ul. Italyanskaya, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191011. 812/314–8951 information. Metro: Nevsky Prospekt.)

Lux Express (812/441–3757. www.luxexpress.eu.)

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