Generally speaking, the infrastructure in Russia is reasonably good in the larger cities, but sometimes it can be easier and faster to take a taxi to get around and fortunately, the Russian taxi options are easy and cheap. In this blog post, I will guide you how to catch a taxi in Russia.
What does it cost?
Prices for driving a taxi in Russia are fairly cheap and therefore it can sometimes be cheaper to take a taxi, when being 3-4 people than to take the metro.
Prices depend on the number of available cars and customers in the area and therefore change all the time. Later in this blogpost, I will show you a way of checking the price beforehand.
I have driven the same stretch of approx. 5 km in Kazan a couple of times now and the ride has cost me between 80-120 RUB, which is equivalent to 1,5-2,1 USD. A trip of 25 km. from an airport and into the city has cost me 500 RUB, which equals 8,7 USD.
Be aware that the prices in Moscow and St. Petersburg are 1,5-2 times higher.
How do I get a taxi in Russia?
You can either choose to just jump in a taxi that is free or you can choose to order one in advance.
I would definitely prefer to book a taxi in advance and I will explain why later in this post, but let me explain the customs in jumping in a taxi in Russia without ordering it in advance.
As in most other countries around the world, you will see a lot of taxis waiting at airports, train stations and at other key areas with many people around.
In Russia you walk up to a taxi and talk with the driver about where you want to go first. The driver gives you a prize and you can negotiate the price with him. It is also common for the driver to pick up more people at the same time, especially if it is a longer trip, for example, from an airport to the city center. In this case you will be able to agree on a much lower price.
It may be difficult to know what the price of a trip should be and therefore I would recommend downloading either Yandex Taxi or Uber. The apps can help you get an indication of what the prices are if you prefer to catch a taxi on the street by making an order, checking the price and then cancelling the order.
As I said, I prefer to book taxis in advance through either Yandex Taxi or Uber. I assume that most people know Uber, so I will go through Yandex Taxi below. And in fact, the interface is very similar with Uber, so if you’ve tried Uber before, you’ll get the hang of Yandex Taxi very quickly.
Yandex Taxi is the Russian equivalent to Uber and works amazing! The app is in English and is very user-friendly!
Start downloading the app in the apple store: www.itunes.apple.com/yandex-taxi
Once you have downloaded the app, you can decide if you want to register your card and have the option to pay for your trips directly. If you don’t want to register your card, you will simply pay cash.
Automatically finds your destination
When you want to book a taxi, open the app and it will open a map, where it automatically finds your current location. You can choose to order the taxi to where you are or move the screen to a specific location where you would like the taxi to pick you up.
You then enter the address of your destination or find the location on the map. Once you have chosen your destination, there will appear three cars at the bottom of the screen: economy, comfort and business. The difference is in which car type you would like to drive, but the difference between economy and comfort is minimal in Russia. If you want to make sure your taxi is of a newer model, then you should choose ‘business’.
In the economy and comfort category you can get any car. From Daewoo Nexia to Lada Largus.
No price agreements and no tips
Under each car in the app, you will be able to see the price of your trip in rubles (1 RUB = 0,02 USD). The price you see is the fixed price of your taxi ride. I’ve experienced that the prices went up or down a 100 RUB just by updating the app, so if you’re not in a hurry, you can play with it for a while.
When you take a taxi in Russia you do not have to give tips. Of course, the taxi driver will not mind if your trip ends with 190 RUB and you give him 200 RUB saying he can keep the rest. However, it would be equally common for him to give you 10 RUB back.
When you press ‘order a taxi’, you will have to wait a moment while your order will be sent to the taxis in the area. Once a car has accepted your order, you will get a notification with the information of the car model, the color of the car and the license plate that will pick you up. You will also receive a text message with the same information.
You can then follow where your car is in the app and how long it takes for it to arrive at the agreed pick up spot. You can write or call directly to the driver if something should happen or cancel your trip free of charge if you touch the three small dots at the bottom of the screen.
Don’t forget to give your drive a rating after your trip.
Question to catch a taxi in Russia? Comments? Ideas for other topics/guides for my next blog post?
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