How to get to other places in and around Moscow: the marshrutka

On Sunday, I went to tutor privately for the first time. However, the real story was taking a marshrutka, aka a minibus, to get there. If you don’t know what they are, imagine if those airport shuttle buses had a baby with a taxi. Marshrutkas can fit maybe 16 people into them, so personal space is a wee bit hard to come by. However, they conveniently run 24/7, compensating for one’s own intimacy once you hop on. I had to get to Krasnogorsk, which is the city just to the northwest of Moscow, but there were at least 5 marshrutkas going there. The kicker for these is that they may not go to the specific area you want to visit, hence you have to be careful about which one (they’re numbered and have a sign indicating which direction or metro station they’re swinging by) you board. Another note about them is that you need to tell the driver that you want to get off. Woe is the person who is not paying attention to the stops/neighborhoods. Seriously, some stops, such as mine, barely were noticeable-blink and you miss them. (Thankfully, I had the mother of the child who I was tutoring call the driver to tell him where to stop.) If you’re used to the fancy bus stops, well, some of the stops I saw strongly resembled aluminum shacks frequently associated with favelas of Latin America. On the flip side, these rides are dirt cheap: 40-50 rubles, which converts to roughly one dollar. You do get your money’s worth, but you seriously have to wonder how much the drivers are paid. They’re also clean, so fear not. All in all, they’re a great little way to visit the regions just outside of Moscow.

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