Wednesday, February 11, 2009

All Aboard! This is a Marshrutka...

Marshrutki are privately-owned vans that follow set routes between subway stops and other destinations. They basically offer an alternative to bus routes that might not be as direct or tend to be infrequent. They're more expensive than buses, but can be quite convenient. I think they cost about a dollar these days. 

The catch? It's quite an experience! People tend to PILE IN. If you're stuck in the back, it can be a rather smelly ride. While smoking is frowned upon, it's not prohibited... Payment is on the honor system and I doubt anyone has ever gotten away without paying... People are VERY much into others' business when squeezed in there and an angry babushka would assault you. One passenger sometimes appoints him/herself the fare collector, or you pass your money to the driver. Be prepared for wrath if all you have is a large note and expect change!

Some vans are death traps... This one, however, is new and so darn pretty! I love all the old-fashioned Russian folk illustrations on the doors.


Tina in CT said...

I could forgo being stuck in the back with BO! I'd also die by the heat wearing my down coat.

The door paintings are very picturesque.

Annie said...

Good heavens! It is beautiful!!! There was a sort of bus system like that in a town I lived in here in Michigan. I loved it! It made using the public transportation possible.

I can just picture the people watching to see that others pay! Oh, yes! You mention these little things that bring me right back to Russia in an instant!

One of my all time favorite (as in - I still laugh) moments was when we stopped at a small wayside grocery/Tyalet. I went in and paid my kopek, but Craig had said he wasn't going to come. Then...he changed his mind. But I was no longer there to alert him to the fee. When he took some paper from the roll on the nail and kept on walking you could have heard the babushka bellowing a mile away! And though I hadn't seen him come in, I immediately knew what poor soul had tried to use the facilities without paying!

Anonymous said...

Wow, they used Bilibin for decorations!

kate said...

Ours don't look anything like this!

I hate being the person right behind the driver who has to pass the money.

I'm also not fond of the fact that they stop ANYWHERE--even if it's only a half-block from where the last person stopped!