Six Peculiarities of Moscow Metro
1,685 views   /  4 Oct 2015
The Moscow Metro is well-known as not only a fast and efficient means of transportation, but also as the unique example of the Soviet monumental architecture. I am sure many of you have seen its photos online or took pictures of it while visiting the Russian capital. However, you might not know some interesting peculiarities that are typical for this highly-demanded means of public transportation.
By Anastasia Fistashka
(1) Speed and Efficiency
Apart from its beautiful monumental stations and sophisticated painting compositions, the Moscow Metro can definitely be proud of its speed and efficiency. During the rush hours trains come and go every 30 seconds, carrying millions of people to their destinations every day. Visitors, however, might be surprised with the fact that people in Moscow are always in a hurry and became used to run around trying to catch one train despite small intervals between their arrivals.
“It seems such a meaningless waste of energy,” a Moscow visitor wrote online, describing her trip to the city.
(2) “Human Traffic Jams”
Another peculiarity of the Moscow Metro is what I call “human traffic jams”. Crowds of people fill the platforms in the rush hours. Sometimes one has to let a few jam-packed trains to pass by just to be able to get on the next one.
According to statistics, the Moscow Metro carries more than 9.5 million people a day, which equals to the entire population of Sweden and exceeds the total number of residents in the three Baltic States.
(3) Unusual jobs (“Women in Booths”)
A Canadian friend of my colleague, Rebecca, who spent her vacation in Moscow, drew my attention to another interesting fact that I probably would not have thought about myself.
“I found it very interesting the amount of ‘extra’ jobs there were in Moscow that you wouldn’t see in other countries, for instance, someone in a booth at the bottom of the escalator who seemingly was there in case something went wrong,” Rebecca said.
Indeed, there is always a person sitting in a booth downstairs who is generally responsible for people’s safety. In case of emergency (for instance, when someone’s clothes get caught in escalator or someone loses their balance and falls), the operator turns off a switch and stops the escalator.
(4) Good Shopping Opportunities
It may sound unusual, but the Moscow Metro is a perfect place for shopping. While heading to an exit from the subway, one usually runs across a huge number of stalls and small vendors.
“Why do they sell pants and woman’s underwear everywhere?” my boyfriend asked me during his first visit to Moscow, when we were passing by stands in the subway full with all kind of stuff: clothes, shoes, cosmetics, food, underwear, electronics and newspapers.
Indeed, as ridiculous as it may sound, you can often find almost everything in these small subway shops. Thus, if you want to by a USB stick or need a pair of house slippers, the Moscow Metro might turn out to be the right place to go.
(5) A Lot of Beggars
The sad part of reality in Moscow is a huge number of beggars standing right on metro platforms or along the tunnels. You can run into all imaginable kinds of them – ranging from pregnant women to persons with disabilities, from women with small children to homeless people with pets. However, the thing that would probably strike visitors the most (or at least that strikes me personally) is the high number of old women (“babushkas”) begging for little money to survive. To be honest, I have never seen this in any other country and blame Russia’s extremely poor system of social care for it.
(6) Rules of Politeness
And, finally, Russian rules of politeness in public transport would be worth mentioning to end this post on a more positive note. Russians are always expected to stand up and make their seats available for elderly people, pregnant women and persons with disabilities. Usually, there are regular announcements reminding everyone of it. But if not, this is an unspoken rule.
That is why it’s better to give your seat away when you see an elderly woman standing in front of you and gloomily staring at your face. Otherwise, Russian babushkas are very active and combat-ready and they will take your seat anyways =).
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