By Bus, Tram & Trolley
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By Bus, Tram & Trolley
Several firms operate bus routes between St. Petersburg and central Europe. A bus trip can be a reasonably comfortable way to connect with the Baltic states, Scandinavia, and Germany, although as with train travel in and out of the country, it entails a two- to three-hour wait at the border for everyone to clear customs. The Gorodskoi Avtobusny Vokzal (City Bus Station), open from 6:30 am until 11:30 pm, sells tickets for international and domestic routes. It takes about 15 minutes to walk to the station from Ligovsky Prospect metro station, but you are better off targeting the representative offices of the company you wish to travel with or using a travel agent.
Among the most reliable of the bus companies is Eurolines, which runs coaches to Tallinn, Riga, Stuttgart, and destinations all over Europe. The Finnish bus company Finnord runs coaches between Helsinki and St. Petersburg via the border town of Vyborg. The service runs twice daily, leaving from Finnord's offices at 37 Italyanskaya ulitsa, and then at half a dozen Finnish towns before reaching Helsinki.
Although St. Petersburg is spread out over 650 square km (250 square mi), most of its historic sites are concentrated in the downtown section and are best explored on foot. These sites are often not well served by the extensive public transportation system, so be prepared to do a lot of walking. Bilingual city maps with bus routes marked on them are sold at the bookstore Dom Knigi (62 Nevsky prospekt), while St. Petersburg In Your Pocket prints valuable info about marshrutki routes in every issue.
When traveling by bus, tram, or trolley, you must purchase a ticket from the conductor. At this writing, a ticket valid for one ride costs 12R, regardless of the distance you intend to travel; if you change buses, you must pay another fare. Buses, trams, and trolleys operate from 5:30 am to midnight, although service in the late evening hours and on Sunday tends to be unreliable.
Note that all public transportation vehicles tend to be extremely overcrowded during rush hours; people with claustrophobia should avoid them. It's very much the Russian philosophy that there's always room for one more passenger. Make sure you position yourself near the exits well before the point at which you want to disembark, or risk missing your stop. Buses tend to be newer and reasonably comfortable. Trolleys and trams, on the other hand, sometimes give the impression that they're held together with Scotch tape and effort of will, and can be extremely drafty. In winter the windows tend to ice up to the point where it's impossible to see where you are, so ask the conductor to tell you if in doubt.
The City Bus Station. 36 Obvodnovo kanala nab., Vladimirskaya, St. Petersburg, 192007. 812/766-5777. Metro: Ligovsky Prospekt.
Eurolines. 812/441-3757. www.eurolines.ru.
Finnord. 37 Italyanskaya ul., St. Petersburg, 191011. 812/314-8951. Metro: Nevsky Prospekt.
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