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GETTING AROUND RUSSIA (domestic):

TRAIN, BUS, AIR, CAR, RIVER TRANSPORT

TRAINS are considered as most popular transport in Russia. The railways are covering most of the coutry. The Russian Railways (www.rzd.ru) is the company that owns the railway network throughout Russia. The following classification is used in Russia: a seat, 3rd class (open type car), 2nd class (with compartmetns with 4 people in it), 1st class (2 persons in a compartment). There are also few more high-level class in several train operating at St. Peterburg destination. Although the 3rd class is a common carriage it is usually a safer option for women, as they do not risk getting stuck in a coupe with some strange neighbors. It is also cheaper, but not as clean, and not all trains have it. There are two toilets at each end of every carriage with a WC and a sink, the toilets are usually not very clean. If you take a more comfortable train, there's more chances it will be cleaner.
It's better not to drink tap water in the train, because it's dirty.
The showers are provided on long-distance trains (more than 24 hours), only in kupe or 1st class carriages. If your train doesn't have a shower, you can ask a conductor to allow you to use a shower in another carriage for a small fee.
The bedsheets are provided in the train, and a set (which includes a towel) costs about 100R ($1.5-$2). This price may be included in your ticket price though.

Buy tickets: Railway station: Buying the train tickets yourself directly at the railway station is cheaper, but has a few disadvantages. First, there are often long queues. Second, the operators at ticket sales offices don't speak English. Third, there might not be tickets left if you buy them before your departure. The advantages are the price and the last-minute tickets that are sold 2 hours before departure: the price stays the same, but you might get a ticket that was previously unavailable.
Ticket agencies: The agencies can provide excellent service, but charge commission on top. The Russian railways doesn't pay any comission to the agents for tickets sold, so the price at an agency will always be higher. The agency's commission depends on the quality of service and may be from 10% to 30% of the ticket price.

There are 6 main train terminals in Moscow. It depends on your destination city which train station the train will depart from:

Leningradski train terminal (usually north direction): St. Petersburg, Novgorod, Pskov, Vyborg, Murmansk, Estonia (Tallinn), Finland (Helsinki). Suburban trains to/from Klin, Tver.
Kazanski train terminal: Adler, Barnaul, Izhevsk, Kazan, Novorossisk, Orenburg, Penza, Rostov, Samara, Tashkent, Toliatti, Ufa, Tchelyabinsk, Krasnoyarsk, Ryazan, Tomsk (usually south-east direction).
Yaroslavski train terminal: Arkhangelsk, Ekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk), Irkutsk, Kostroma, Kirov, Novosibirsk, Perm, Vladimir, Vladivostok, Vologda, Yaroslavl. Trans-siberian trains. Suburban trains to Abramtsevo, Sergiev Posad.
Belorusski train terminal: Kaliningrad, Smolensk. Belarus (Minsk), Lithuania, Germany (Berlin), Poland.
Kurski train terminal: Kursk, Krasnodar, Nizhni Novgorod, Oryol, Perm, Rostov-na-Donu. Local trains to / from Vladimir, Podolsk.
Rizhski train terminal: Latvia (Riga)
Kievski train terminal: Ukraine (Kiev), Moldova

BUS. The routes actually go all over Russia, you can get anywhere taking a local or an intercity bus, the prices are very cheap.
But the chaos on the busstations (with the tickets, long, tiring queues etc.), low quality and poor comfort of the buses, operators (who sell the tickets, and info offices), who speak only Russian (even in the major cities) make it very hard for foreigners to use the buses in Russia.
Sometimes, if you want to get to a really nice remote place, or if you missed your train, local or intercity bus is a really good (and the only) option to go ahead with.
There are busstations in every city and every little town in Russia. There are plenty of local buses that go around the region, and there are buses that go to the other cities, especially at the places that are on the busy transport ways.

In big cities, such as Moscow and St. Petersburg, you'll have to take the metro, and the bus station will be just next to the metro exit. The main Moscow bus terminal is located just next to Shchyolkovskaya metro station (the last station to the east on the dark blue line). You can get a bus to almost any Russian town and city from there. When you get inside the station, you'll see signs in English and Russian in front of you. The timetables of the buses and ticket sales offices are on the right, the luggage storage rooms and cafes are on the left. You can leave your luggage for 50-100 rub ($0.7-$1.5) a day, the luggage storage is closed between 23.00 and 6.30, and they have a break from 14.00 to 15.00.
The Shchyolkovskaya bus station is opened from 6.30 to 23.00. Directions: go to Shchyolkovskaya metro station (the last station to the east on the dark blue line), take the first carriage from the centrum. As you walk out, there'll be many stalls and little shops around, and a bit further - a large building with "Avtostantsiya" written on top. That's the bus station.

AIR. The air transport in the coutry was not that popular with its inhabitant just 15 years ago. The soviet airports system has been broken down and is still not serving that number of airportsas it did before. However smaller towns can bee reached by air now. Major russian airlines offer to issue e-ticket on their web page but smaller prefer to issue paper tickets for their passangers so far. To avoid possible "morce majeures" we reccomend to use following bigest airlines for your in-Russia flights.

Aeroflot Russian Airline
Usually cheapest tickets to/from Russia. Good service (despite what many people think), quite safe (there’s a rumour that many pilots are former military, so if they managed in Afghanistan…), and a wide selection of food (must be prebooked).
Internet: http://www.aeroflot.com (USA), http://www.aeroflot.co.uk (UK), http://www.aeroflot.ru (Russia).
Contacts: +1 (888)686-4949 (Washington, USA), +44 (0) 20 7 355-2233 (London, UK), +7 (495) 753-5555 (24 hours, Moscow, Russia)
Offices: Moscow Russia: Petrovka St., 20/1 (metro Teatralnaya, Okhotny Ryad) | London UK: 70, Picaddilly St.

Sibir Airlines
Second most important in Russia, after Aeroflot. Based in Novosibirsk. Strives to provide good service for less money than Aeroflot. Has great offers for domestic flights in Russia, as well as some international flights, especially to Germany and Asia (China, Korea, Mongolia).
Internet: http://english.s7.ru/ (Russian, English, German)
Contacts: +7 (495) 777-9999 (Moscow, Russia), +7 (3832) 59-90-90 (24 hours, Novosibirsk, Russia), +44 (0)870 60 80 737 (UK), +86 10 651-207-09 (China)
Offices: Moscow, Russia: 1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya str., 15 (metro «Belorusskaya»)
Working hours: 10:00 - 20:00, Domodedovo Airport (24h) , Paveletsky Railway Station (10.00-21.00)

Pulkovo

St. Petersburg – based airline company. Regular flights between Moscow and St. Petersburg. Sometimes good offers for international flights from St. Petersburg.
Internet: http://eng.pulkovo.ru/

The only low-cost airlines binding from Moscow to the few russian cities is Sky Express- Moscow based (Vnukovo). Flights to Sochi, Murmansk, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Samara, Kazan, Ekaterinburg, others. On line: http://www.skyexpress.ru/ (Enlish and Russian)

RIVER TRANSPORT. In the Soviet times that was really famous to take a river cruise: people used to go around small provincial towns, make short sightseeing tours, moving on, and enjoying picturesque views along the way, especially in the mornings.
Now it is not like this, mainly because of slightly high prices for most of the cruises. But the real fans find their way. In this section we list some least expensive and most interesting (from our point of view) river cruises. But still in some towns of Russia river transport is a very usefull public tranport for locals. It is possible to take a boat just across the river to dicover the other bank. Tickets are normally purchased before the boat departure at a pier nearby.

You can also take a river cruise just in a city (very famous in St. Peterbourg). The main river port in Moscow (long distance cruises) located: North River Port -- address: Leningradskoe Shosse, 51 (metro Rechnoy Vokzal, green line).

Rech Flot. Some cruise itineraries on their website, in Russian only.
Address: 125195, Moscow, Leningradskoe Shosse, 59 (metro Rechnoi Vokzal), Moscow River Transport Department building (right wing), 3rd floor, office 331.
Contacts: phone: (+7 495) 459-72-70, 459-70-91, 459-73-0, 459-78-72, fax: +7 495 459-74-04, Internet: http://www.rechflot.ru/, e-mail: info@rechflot.ru

Stolichnaya Sudokhodnaya Kompania (SSK). Probably the biggest river cruises operator. The website is in Russian only.
Address: Leningradskoe shosse, 51 (metro Rechnoi Vokzal), or Leningradski Prospekt, 1 (metro Belorusskaya, centrum).
Contacts: phone: (+7 495) 257-7112, 257-7109, 458-9163, 458-9624. Internet: http://www.cck-ship.ru/

Tur Flot. Has a good website in Russian with complete schedules of their cruises for 2002. Also provides cruises in Urals, Siberia, and CIS countries (Ukraine). Good prices.
Address: B. Ordynka Ul., 21 (metro Dobryninskaya, Tretyakovskaya, city centrum).
Contacts: +7 495 363-94-52, 363-94-53; Internet: http://www.turflot.ru/, e-mail: turflot@dialup.ptt.ru

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