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Marshrutka

Marshrutka in Moscow The ubiquitous marshrutka is a make-shift but efficient solution to overcrowding and underfunding on Russian public transport. They are basically privately-owned minibus taxis - usually Ford Transits or Russian-produced copies - that seat 15-20 passengers and follow a fixed route that may or may not be same as a state bus route. They will stop anywhere along their route if there is space left inside, or at passengers' request (signs inside always ask you to request your stop promptly, loudly and clearly, so don't be shy). They are considerably quicker than their state-owned alternatives and, although concerns have been voiced about safety, Moscow's network is much better regulated than many of its provincial counterparts.

Marshrutkas are also often the best bet for trips to the suburbs of Moscow and, for budget travelers, the best-value way to get to and from the airport (although it can be quite a squash with more than the bare minimum of luggage).

You normally pay the driver once you have got to your seat (avoid sitting directly behind the driver if possible, or you'll be the one responsible for ferrying the fares and change backwards and forwards), although occasionally you pay as you are getting off. Fares are less than $1 in the center, and only a little more for suburban journeys. If you are getting on a marshrutka at the start of the route, you may have to wait a few minutes for the cabin to fill up.

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