The best way to get around St. Petersburg is by public transport, either by metro or by bus. In this article I will tell you about the transport tickets that are worth buying to move around the city in public transport.
Updated on January 22, 2020. Published on May 30, 2017
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1. Public transport in St. Petersburg
In St. Petersburg you can use the public transport and go to places by metro, bus, trolleybus and also by tram in some areas. In addition, there are some minibuses called Marshrutkas, as well as taxis.
1.1. The St. Petersburg Metro
The best way to get around the city is by using the metro, as it is the fastest transportation method. Though the St. Petersburg metro is not as spectacular as the Moscow metro, some of its stations are quite state-of-the-art and very worthy to visit: Ploshchad Vosstaniya, Tekhnologichesky Institut, Baltiyskaya, Narvskaya, Kirosvsky Zavod or Avtovo (see photo below).
The St. Petersburg Metro is the deepest in the world, the second longest in Russia (after the Moscow metro) and it has 5 lines (with 67 stations), each of which has its own name, though they are often known by their color (the red line, the blue line,
The ticket cost is 55 rubles. The St. Petersburg metro still uses the token system (coins), which can be purchased at the underground ticket offices of each station. The easiest way to get a token is to go to the ticket offices, pay in cash (if you carry the exact amount, the better) and indicate with your hand the number of tokens that you want to buy. In theory, you need to buy another token (55 rubles) if you carry large suitcases, but it is a rule that nobody complies with. You can also buy tokens at vending machines.
- St. Petersburg Metro Website: http://www.metro.spb.ru/en/
1.2. Buses, trolleybuses and trams
Since the St. Petersburg Metro does not reach everywhere and its network of stations is not very dense, you will have to combine your route with buses and maybe trolley buses or trams. The cost of the bus ticket is 50 rubles and you usually pay it when you get on the bus. There are bus lines to get to some of the city’s tourist attractions, such as Peterhof Gardens or Catherine’s Palace.
There are also the so-called «marshrutka», commercial minibuses, the price of which ranges between 40 and 50 rubles, and which usually take routes that public transport does not cover. They are usually marked with the letters K or T (for example, K-30). Unlike public buses, marshrutkas can stop anywhere on the route, you just have to ask the driver. Public buses stop only at official stops.
These minibuses do not offer special prices or discounts for students or disabled or retired people.
Finally, you can also travel around the city by taxi. This is a good method to move to the outskirts of the city (Peterhof Gardens or Catherine Palace) or if you are loaded with luggage or if you are looking for more comfort. It is also a good way to go from the city to the airport. A good option to book online a taxi is the Russian company KiwiTaxi.
2. Transport cards
There are different types of tickets and travel tickets to use the public transport around the city, but for a tourist who will spend a few days it is best to choose one of these three options:
Option 1: Buy individual tickets
If you are going to be in St. Petersburg for 1-2 days, you are staying at the city’s centre (close to the main tourist attractions), and you are not going to need public transport that much, then probably the best thing is to buy individual tickets every time you use it. Both the Metro token (55 rubles) and the bus ticket (50 rubles) are very economic.
Option 2: Purchase a multi-purpose unified ticket
The second option is to buy a valid multipurpose ticket for unlimited travel in any type of transport (metro, bus, trolleybus or tram) for 1, 2, 3, 4. 5, 6 or 7 days. You can buy it at the ticket offices of any Metro station (or at automatic machines). Prices since January 2020 are as follows:
- 1 day – 185 rubles
- 2 days – 265 rubles
- 3 days – 355 rubles
- 4 days – 440 rubles
- 5 days – 550 rubles
- 6 days – 620 rubles
- 7 days – 705 rubles
This unified ticket will be very lucrative if you plan to make several trips a day. So, if you are staying away from the centre and you are going to be several days in the city, it will most likely be profitable to buy one of these tickets.
Option 3: Buy the Podorozhnik card
Just as in Moscow there is the Troika card, in St. Petersburg there is a similar card called Podorozhnik. It is a reloadable transport card that also works on all public transportation systems. You can buy it (and recharge it) at the ticket offices of the subway stations or in automatic machines.
To purchase the card you must pay a 60 rubles deposit (recoverable if you return it within 45 days from the date of purchase). You can also recharge it online.
Each time you pass the card through the lathes, it discounts the price of the ticket: 38 rubles in metro and 33 rubles in any surface transports. These prices are for the first 10 trips during the month (if you make more trips, prices go down progressively).
The card has a problem: it’s not possible to recover the balance of unused money from the card. Therefore, you have to recharge it with the approximate amount that you estimate you will use.
Please note that neither multipurpose tickets nor the Podorozhnik card are valid in commercial minibuses (marshrutkas).
In short, it is best to make an estimate of the trips that you plan to make in St. Petersburg, in order to determine which travel card is best to buy.
I hope this article has been useful for you to travel around St. Petersburg by public transport. What type of ticket did you use?