The Citizen Taxi

The most Russian of all Russian institutions is surely the citizen cab. With official taxis far too expensive for regular Muscovites, a cheap alternative is to wave down a private car. Simply stand on the right side of the road for the direction you want to travel in and hold out and your hand - no more than three or four cars will pass by before someone pulls up. You say where you want to go, they say how much they want (somewhere between 150-400 roubles, depending where you are going). If you like the price you get in, if not you slam the door shut and they drive off!

Whether this is an example of capitalist opportunism, or of the Soviet spirit of camaraderie is up for debate (probably a combination of the two!), but it is certainly a quick and easy - not to mention interesting - way to get around town.

Whereas you are highly unlikely to run into trouble, the usual caveats of hitching a ride on your own, or as a group of females-only apply. Some knowledge of Russian is also important to ensure you reach the right destination and understand how much you are to pay!

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Sergey from Canada Reply Jul 11th, 2009

Dan - this is not correct, at least certainly not for the natives. Hitching a ride costs /2-/4 the price of taxi depending on destination; that's the cost for bad car. Good car usually means driver rather than owner and price is the same (sometimes cheaper if you haggle). Incidents are pretty rare and I think you overstate danger, including at night. Of course it helps to know realistic price for the route to be able to tell overly optimistic driver to move on; but if you don't the rule of thumb is to NEVER use services of drivers that park near metro stations/clubs/etc - they usually charge as much as taxi, or much more than the real price anyway. While I lived in Moscow (for most of my life :)) I hitched rides extensively because I cannot be bothered to go by public transit other than metro, so any non metro destination/shortcut/night/in a hurry => hitch a ride.

Fred said right from United Kingdom Reply Jan 9th, 2008

Hey, i'm sure my moscow taxi driver looked just like that!