The Moscow Metropolitan is known as the “metro”. Stations are identified by a large M sign above entrances. The metro is by far the easiest and quickest way around the frequently gridlocked city. Nine million passengers travel on it every day.
The metro consists of 9 major radial lines, 1 major circle line connecting all radial lines approximately two-thirds of the way into the center, and 2 small auxiliary lines. It is ever-expanding. Lines have both a name (generally very long and difficult to remember, even if you see it in Latin letters), and a designated color. Trains on the main lines run every 90 seconds during peak hours. During late night hours, you may need to wait up to 6 minutes for a train.
Tickets are sold from booths at any metro station. Each trip, regardless of length or number of transfers, counts as one fare. You can purchase a single fare for 22 RUR, or purchase cards for multiple fares to get a discounted rate. A travel card for 60 rides, valid for 45 days, can be purchased for 850 RUR. Children under age 7 may ride free. Luggage over 150 centimeters in circumference requires a separate fare.
To enter the metro, you must pass through an electronic tourniquet. Hold your ticket over the electronic red light. It will flash a green number showing the remaining number of fares on your tickets, and you can pass through the gate.
Metro etiquette includes standing on the right-hand and passing on the left-hand side of escalators. Seats should be surrendered to the elderly, disabled, pregnant women, and passengers with small children. There are three-person and six-person benches; do not take up more than your allotted space or place luggage on seats. You should not stand too close to the edge when trains are incoming. You are also advised to not lean against the doors of the train. Metro regulations do not permit eating, smoking, or consuming alcohol on the trains.
Information on all stations and lines, including an online interactive map that allows you to measure travel time between stations and calculate the fastest route to your destination, is available in English at http://engl.mosmetro.ru. Small wallet maps (in Russian, but some including an English transliteration of station names) are routinely handed out at the entrances and exists to stations by advertisers (the reverse side of the map will have an advertisement for a product or service).
Even if you use the metro rarely, it is considered a tourist attraction and is well worth visiting. The first metro line was opened in 1935 and the stations built until the early 1840’s were also intended as air raid shelters. These halls have often been called “people’s palaces”, for their elegant designs and lavish and profuse use of marble and chandeliers. They are often richly decorated with statues, mosaics and backlit stained glass pictures. See Weekends for more information.