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Moscow/St. Petersburg Public Transportation

Moscow/St. Petersburg Public Transportation

Jun 27th, 2003, 03:16 PM
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Moscow/St. Petersburg Public Transportation

Hey everyone,

I'm going to be heading to Moscow and St. Petersburg later this summer. Lots of questions, but one that I need to ask at this moment. Kind of bizarre, but hopefully someone out there understands:

I have been told that the escalators in both city's metro stations are VERY long...Unfortunately for me, I have a big problem with long escalators (fear of heights). So, here are my questions:

1) Are there elevators at any of the stations?

2) How useable are other forms of public transportation in those cities?

3) In either city, how necessary is it to use the metro? Can most things be reached by foot if I pick the appropriate hotel location (if so, what locations are best?)

4) LASTLY, am I going to have the same problem accessing the railroad station from which trains leave from Moscow to St. Petersburg and vice-versa?

Thank you all for your help!

daveny is offline  
Jun 27th, 2003, 03:41 PM
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I will tell you that the esclators for the subways are VERY steep and very LONG. Just hang on, and you can do it. They also move very fast. It isn't that they are so "high" in my opinion--it is "steep".
Gretchen is online now  
Jun 27th, 2003, 03:49 PM
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As Gretchen advises, they are very steep and very long. And also very fast!

I have an inner ear problem and was nearly really nervous the first time I rode a subway escalator. But, they're really quite exciting and I was just fine. Be sure to stay to the right.

Both cities are very walkable.

After what we read and heard about taking taxis, we felt safer using the metro (though the usual pickpocket precautions apply).

E-mail [email protected] and I'll send the website of a terrific, moderately priced, well located apartment hotel we checked out in St. Petersburg (I'll have to dig through my stuff for it).
djkbooks is offline  
Jun 27th, 2003, 05:54 PM
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We walked almost everywhere in Moscow (stayed at the Rossya, which, while offering just basic rooms, has fabulous views of St. Basil's and is RIGHT across the street from the Red Square), and we walked quite a bit in St. Pete. Otherwise, we mainly took taxis. St. Pete does seem to have more attractions that are a bit farther out, but there is still a lot to see and do in the main area starting from the Hermitage, and you could always take taxis when you want to go farther out.

I could be wrong, but if memory serves, both the train stations are flat.
Andrea_expat is offline  
Jun 27th, 2003, 08:35 PM
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Daveny, thanks for the question! Now I'll be prepared. In SF I have to hide behind my son to go down BART's steep long escalators (so I can't see). Here's hoping I'll make it in Moscow.
LVSue is offline  
Jun 27th, 2003, 09:50 PM
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I'm jealous, because I was supposed to go to St. Petersburg, also. Instead, I'm going back to Prague (for the 7th time!), and certain metro escalators there are also very fast & steep. I think most of the former Iron Curtain countries whose metro systems were built by the Communists have similar design, so keep that in mind if you plan to travel around that area. You'll get used to the speed & steepness, though, and when you return, you will probably find the escalators here WAY too slow ! Have a great trip...!
amp322 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2003, 01:16 PM
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As for the train stations, they are at ground level, so you don't have the same concern as for the Metro stations. I can't remember ever seeing an elevator at any of the major stations. (Many stations are so far below ground in Eastern Europe because they were designed to also be bomb shelters.)

A good location in Moscow is the Red Square/Bolshoi area, where there are some upscale hotels (Marriott Royal, Ararat, Metropole, National) and some down-market ones (Moskva and Rossia). In St. Petersburg a good location is St. Isaac's Square, where there is a mid-level hotel (the Angleterre) and a lux (the Astoria). Also, there are some hotels on Nevsky.

One note of caution is that you could find yourself having to walk a LONG distance (1/4 mile or more) often to cross a main avenue in both Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Marc David Miller
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Marc_David_Miller is offline  
Jun 28th, 2003, 05:09 PM
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I have been going to Moscow every year since 1998 and I always stay at the Metropole Hotel right by Red Square and across from the Bolshoi Ballet.
Yes the subways are VERY long and as stated they were used as bomb shelters during WW II. The main subway stop by red square ( Revolution Station) is particularly long escalater ride but it does move very quickly.
It is very common in Russia and Ukraine to just extend a hand out on a street and people will stop and offer you a ride for a fraction of the cost of a taxi, but you need to speak russian or have a russian speaking person with you.
I have done this all the time in both countries in many cities and never once had a problem.
jazzyguy is offline  
Jun 29th, 2003, 05:17 PM
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The metro escalators are long and move very fast, however there are some other tings about the metro that you must be aware of.

Stations are marked with a large "M" at street level and have separate doors for exit and entry. Many of the stations will have more than one exit/entry point and they may be located 500 - 700 yards apart, which can be confusing and disorienting if you pick the wrong exit. Each exit however is signposted in Cyrillic. I found it handy to carry a small pocket compass, to help with direction when you reach street level.

In plenty of the metro stations you will find that two or more lines meet, and at one station in Moscow, four lines cross, and each each interchange station often have different names.

The various lines are designated by a color and a number and most of the carriages now have bilingual maps, the other signs and maps are in Russian only, so you may want to learn some of the Cyrillic words, such as word for exit and passage to another train.

Get a bilingual metro map and try to plan you trip. Write down the name of the station and the number of stops to your next station and count them off as you go. Don't get on a train until you are sure that you are on the correct train.

On the station wall, which you cannot see when the train is in the station, are the names of the various stations and transfer stations that the train will pass through.

Some of the stations in St Petersburg have sliding doors on the platform, which will open when the train is in the station.
Garfield is offline  
Jun 29th, 2003, 07:21 PM
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This brought back many memories of using the public transit in Russia (alas, many years ago.) I loved watching the people on the escalators--they're so long that you can get a lot done in a ride down!
My other favorite bit was the lovely dimpled blue-eyed busdriver in St. Pete who drove us to a place where we could find a taxi after we got on the wrong #7--a bus instead of a tram, I believe it was--and ended up completely lost.
I really want to go back soon...So many places, so little time.
Amy is online now  
Jun 30th, 2003, 08:30 AM
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I have the same problem w/escalators as you do and try to avoid them as well, and yes, they are long and steep, but it's doable =). Metro in Moscow is an attraction in itself and worth a visit, otherwise, just cab. Moscow is a big city, and depending on where you have to go, walking may not always be an option. Cabs will rip you off (can tell you that as a russian traveling w/American husband)if they'll see you're a foreigner, but try to negotiate as much as you can, and you'll be ok.
St. Petersburg -- never took a metro there. You can actually walk, since the main attractions are pretty central. Other options, are cabs and public trasportation -- they have shuttle-taxis, you may explore this option -- it's a lot less than a cab, and it follows a certain route (like a bus, but a shuttle). Good luck!
yana is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2003, 10:22 AM
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There's an interesting and humorous article at www.exile.ru on the Moscow Metro you might enjoy. Have no fear, they are very deep, just keep a hold on and look at the lights in the middle of the escalator or the people going in the opposite direction and you'll be find. No elevators that I've seen in either SPB or Moscow and unless they would be in newer buildings, one look and I'm sure that no matter what your fear of escalators, you'd opt for that over the elevator. Gotta love the elevators in the Krushchev era apartment blocks!
vagabond65 is offline  

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