Metro in Moscow: Getting Around the Capital
Shortly about Russian Metro
- The easiest, and also the fastest way to get around Moscow! Many lines connect all areas of the capital and the suburbs.
- Opening hours: from 5:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.
- The cost of one trip to the Moscow metro is 57 rubles (9$).
- The ticket is valid at all stations in any direction (no zones!)
- Tickets can be purchased at the subway and self-service machines.
- You can use your credit card or mobile phone to pay on turnstile or in the special ticketing office at every station
- Free Wi-Fi is available
About the Metro
The Moscow Metro was Soviet’s ambitious architectural projects aimed at socialism propaganda. Numerous artists and architects worked under its interior. Reflective marble walls, high ceilings, and grand chandeliers were designed to manifest the communist idea of a bright future. A lot of stations still look like "artificial underground sun".
Moscow Metro starts opening at 05:30 and closes at 01:00. It means that all stations and transfer corridors close their entrances at 01:00. However, it is still possible to get around the current metro line. The last train starts from the terminal station at 01:00 and finishes at about 01:30-01:40 depending on the metro line.
How to get free Wi-Fi
Free Wi-Fi became available on all lines of the Moscow Metro several years ago. However, each time you will need to watch advertisements to use it. Connect Wi-Fi and open your browser.
Moscow metro map in English
Here you can find the map of Moscow metro with English names of the stations (click to enlarge). However, it is much more convenient to use interactive metro maps. The best ones are Yandex maps, you can find both desktop and mobile versions. These maps can tell you the best route between two stations and its duration.
Information about other useful mobile applications and websites you can find here.
A lot of new station opens every year! You may find the newest Metro Map with the English language inside every train.
How to Read the Map?
Each line has its own specific color and number. On the lines are squares and circles with names. Squares are ordinary metro stations with access to the city. Circles are metro stations where you can go to the station of another line.
The dotted line with a figure means that you need to go outside and spend 5-10 minutes walking to get to another station. You will pass the turnstile again for free during first 90 minutes. But it's still not so easy as the normal metro passes.
About Circle Roads
Most lines intersect only in the central part of the town. The most important line is the Circle line (brown). It encircles the central part of the city and connects all the radial lines.
Recently MTsK (Moscow Circle Road) was built as the second circle around the Moscow center (white-red circle line). It's very interesting to ride because it's an above-ground line that passes through the "rusty bell" of Moscow, an industrial part that quickly changes into the modern apartment complexes and business centers.
How to get to the Aeroport
There are three railway stations (Kievsky, Paveletsky, and Belorussky) from where Aeroexpress high-speed trains depart to airports. They are located near Koltsevaya Line metro stations. It's easy to use if you want to get to the aeroport by yourself. You just need to buy ticket online.
How to pay for the Moscow metro
At the entrance to the subway, you will immediately see turnstiles, tickets machines and ticket offices. In order to get through the turnstile, we need to buy a ticket... How?
1. Paying using your phone (ONLY Metro)
It's the easiest way to enter the Metro (and quite cheap!) if you have your phone with Android or Apple Pay. There's a lot of turnstile at every station. You need to find the turnstile with a sigh of VISA/Mastercard/Google and Apple Pay (see picture).
YOU can not buy tickets for buses and trams with your phone or credit, so... just buy the Troika Card!
2. Paying by Troika Card (any Public Transport)
To do this, we approach the ticket office and ask for Troika Card, then you should tell the amount of money that you want to put on it. You can pay for Troika with cash or MasterCard and Visa contactless cards.
Passing through turnstiles
With a ticket/phone/card in hand, we approach the turnstiles. There is a yellow circle on the turnstile where you should attach your card or phone and wait until you see the green light. On the screen itself, you may see how much money you have on your card and the cost that was taken from you. Please note that turnstiles are for right-handed people (see the picture)!
How to Use Troika Card
The MAIN advice: if you are going to use public transport (even once), all you need is a Troika card. It is a reusable plastic card used for rides on the Metro and aboveground transport.
• Buy it for 50 rub (0.8$) at any Metro ticket office and automated ticket kiosks. Put money on it at the same place
• The price for Metro, monorail and Moscow central ring is 35 rub (2019 UPDATE: now it's 38 RUB or 0.6$) The price is the same for surface transport (buses, trams, and trolleybuses). The price for Metro + unlimited surface transport for 90 minutes is 35 rub
• Pricing is not easy to remember, but... The Troika card automatically determines the best fare for you! You see the balance when using the card.
• You can return 50 rub deposit for the card at any Metro ticket office after your trip! But it's better to save the card as a souvenir. You can’t quickly return money on it (it's long bureaucratic procedure…)
• Officially, you can use Troika card to buy tickets for suburban commuter trains, or elektrichka, but it's easy only for "MTsD" (Moscow Circle Diameters).
>> You need 4 rides at Metro and 2 ride at surface transport: go to Metro ticket office, pay them 50 rub (deposit for the card) + 35 rub * 4 (for metro) + 35 rub * 2 (for surface) = 260 rub
>> You already have 30 rub on Troika card and you need 1 Metro ride: go to Metro ticket office, put only 5 rub on Troika card (the balance would be 35 rub)
Secret Metro 2 (Rumors)
It has been alleged that a second and deeper metro system ("Metro 2") was designed for emergency evacuation of key city personnel in case of nuclear attack during the Cold War. It is believed to lie 100–200 meters deep for better protection in wartime. Metro 2 starts from Kremlin and goes to the KGB office, to government airport at Vnukovo and to an underground town at Ramenki. According to some data, there is also an enormous underground leadership bunker adjacent to Moscow State University that lies at 200-300 m deep and can accommodate up to 10 000 people! More interesting facts and speculations you can find here.