Moscow Metro Guide

Moscow Metro Guide

Moscow Metro station,

Moscow Metro station,

If you visit moscow then you will soon discover that the best way to get around the city is by metro.

Why ?

Well, Moscow traffic jams are legendary, and can last all day, not just during just rush hour.

Moscow’s buses, trolley buses and trams are cheap, but make little sense due to the crazy traffic jams which haunt Moscow.

Taxi’s will charge inflated prices once they realise that you are a foreigner and they will also be stuck in the same traffic jams as the buses.

There really is no sensible alternative to the metro. It’s cheap, efficient and reliable.

Navigation

The metro, despite its vast size, and lack of english language information, is relatively simple to navigate.

Metro Station hall

Metro Station hall

Its easy to plan a route from any metro station to any other station.

Even if you don’t know much russian, just find a metro map which has russian and english names for each station, and plan the route before you set off.

The 12 lines are coloured and there is also a large ring line which circles around Moscow.

Click for bigger map !

All lines head into the centre, so even if you are lost in the outskirts of the system, you simply need to work out which station you are at, then find the correct direction to the centre.

If you make a mistake and get off at the wrong stop, its not a big problem, you simply get on the next train or go back to the previous station.  There is no extra charge for this, once you are in the metro system you can literally spend all day travelling around and around between any stations you wish, all for the price of a single ticket.

You only need another ticket once you exit a station onto the street.

Guide

inside a metro train

inside a metro train

The metro is open from 0530am until 0100am, trains run every 90 seconds during rush hours and every couple of minutes at other times.

Your metro ticket needs to be held up to the  barrier ticket reader to allow entrance to the metro system, but once you are in the metro you don’t need a new ticket until you exit a station to the street and leave the metro system.

Inside the metro there are no barriers or turnstiles.  This means that you can spend all day riding the metro if you wish, all for the single price of a ticket, 26 rubles !

You can go around and around Moscow all day long, backwards and forwards, walk through the transit stations and nobody will care or charge extra.

Ticket barriers are usually manned by a couple of metro workers and/or police to enforce security and make sure nobody tries to go through without paying.

Some people are entitled to free public transport across russia, such as certain categories of government workers.

These people will show their special pass to the metro staff in order to be let through a separate barrier.

Dont ever think of trying to run through the seemingly open ticket barrier !  The barrier will shut with such speed and force that you will think that your ribs are about to break.

Transit stations

Certain metro stations are transit stations, these connect two or more metro stations and lines together. Transit stations have long underground passages to connect the various lines and stations.  You will often find that in order to go from one station to another you will need to change lines once or twice at different transit stations.

If you get lost in the Metro system then don’t panic.  Just ask somebody for help or keep walking until you reach a platform.

The train platform walls contain graphics of the stations available from that platform, so if you are new to Moscow if might be a good idea to double check your intended route before jumping onto the train.

Security

The Moscow Metro unfortunately lives under the constant threat of terrorism.

The metro has suffered numerous bombings due to its open nature and lax security.

Unlike other metros systems, Moscow’s will still work and be open despite bombings and bomb threats.

Why ? Well there just isn’t any alternative means of transport so it has to be open.

I admire these people a lot.

Practicalities

You can buy metro tickets at any station, but sometimes the lines for tickets are long and people often try to push in front.  Lines are especially long at certain stations, such as those metro stations connected to the Moscow Aeroexpress and main train stations.  Travellers arriving from abroad and from other parts of Russia won’t have metro tickets, so these stations have crazy queues.

Stand your ground and keep an eye on your luggage, pockets and wallet whilst you are in line for the ticket kassa.  The women in the ticket offices won’t speak English, so write down the number of tickets you need or use your fingers to indicate the number.

Tickets used to be cards with a magnetic strip but they are now contactless.  A single ticket card can be programmed with up to about 100 rides.

When you hold your ticket next to the ticket barrier the barrier will retract and a sign will light up showing the number of rides left on the card.

If you are staying in Moscow for a day or two then its better to buy your metro tickets in one go, rather than queuing up before every single ride.  This will save a lot of time.

Tickets are valid for about a month.

Metro Tours

Moscow’s metro is so big that it is almost like a complete underground city.  Many of the stations are extremely beautiful and can be thought of as works of art.

They are decorated with paintings, murals, statues, decorations, amazing architecture and Soviet icons.

I’ve often seen people taking guided tours of the metro just to see the stations.

If you are visiting Moscow and it’s raining then a good way to pass a few hours is to have a tour of the metro stations. Many have beautiful marble walls,  chandeliers and mosaics.  If you have never been to Moscow before then you will be amazed and fascinated by the beauty and architecture of the metro.   The metro was first built during the 1930’s and the architecture reflects this period in many stations.

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