Moscow’s bus network is a complex mixture of private and state-owned vehicles, with little coordinated information about routes and schedules available. State-run buses have numeric route numbers, and are usually (though not always) shabbier and more crowded. Buses are most useful when traveling away from the center, during non-peak traffic hours.
Bus stops are designated by a sign marked with an ‘A’ (for avtobus). Buses may run from 6:00 to 1:00 a.m., and typically have 3- to 15-minute intervals. The actual times of first and last service for each route, as well as frequency of intervals, are displayed in Russian on yellow boards at each bus stop. Bus routes are typically displayed on maps in bus stop shelters.
Privately-owned buses are identified by the letters ‘K’ or ‘E’ before their route number, and may have modified routes from the state bus. They are almost indistinguishable from their municipally owned counterparts. State-run and private buses use the same ticket system. Tickets can be bought in single fares (22 RUR) or booklets of ten (200 RUR) from kiosks and metro stations. You can also purchase tickets directly from the driver for 25 RUR. You don’t need to have the correct change when buying a ticket on the bus but bear in mind that if the driver doesn’t have change (which is often the case) you will have a choice between overpaying or getting off. The same ticket system is also used for the trolleybus and tram.
Entry to most buses is through an electronic tourniquet, similar to the metro. Insert your ticket into the ticket slot. The ticket is processed and returned to you within about 2 seconds. You must take the ticket back before you can progress through the tourniquet. Etiquette requires you get on buses through the front door, and exit through the rear door.
Centralized information on bus routes is not readily available. Buses generally have signs in the window indicating major stops along the routes; however, these are in Russian only. It is best to ask friends and neighbors about bus route specifics. If you know, in Russian, the name of your stop or the landmark you wish to travel to, you can confirm it with the driver when you enter.
The bus system is complemented by marshrutkas and trolleys. See Other.