Marshrutka

The marshrutka (a Russian diminutive form of marshrutnoye taxi) is a crucial form of transport in St Petersburg. These minibuses function like buses, only passengers are free to request a stop anywhere along the route and because of their size they zip through the traffic far faster than normal city buses.

The sheer number of routes is staggering -they connect the city to the suburbs, and far-flung residential neighbourhoods to metro stations, and are often the only public transport serving some parts of the centre (particularly the Mariinsky and Smolny neighbourhoods, where metro stations are almost nonexistent). A marshrutka is almost always the fastest and cheapest way to get from one end of Nevsky to the other.

Hold out your arm to flag down the marshrutka you want. If in doubt state your destination to the driver to confirm the marshrutka is headed there. The fare - payable to the driver - is displayed inside the bus and varies depending on the route, although it's usually R20 or R25.

When you reach your destination, you need to call out to the driver to stop. The standard phrase is 'ostanavityes pozhalsta!' ('stop please!'). Although if you don't dare shout this out, 'stop please' in English is likely to suffice, as long as it's loud enough.

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