Train tickets online (almost) and a Moscow Mapping tool

There are a few very useful tools now available on the internet to make life easier in Russia.

The most exciting resource is that you can now order Russian train tickets on-line at RZD.RU and pay by credit card.  This is very reliable way to beat the lines at the stations.  All you need to do is set up an account on their website and have the resources to type in cyrillic in order to enter your departure and destination.  The website allows you to check availability for various trains as well as classes of travel, and to compare cost.  After you have selected your train you can also make seating requests (For platzkart, it helps to know that seat #1 is closest to the conductor, while the highest numbered seats will put you either near the bathroom or along the aisle seats – 5-30 is usually safe.)  After purchasing the ticket you can print our your “e-ticket” that includes a barcode or just write out the confirmation code of your ticket.  There’s one trick: you must pick up the ticket at a station, any station.  I have also picked up tickets for someone else and I have also picked up my own ticket without my passport, but I don’t think this is possible as a rule.  The larger stations have special booths where this can be done, where I have never seen a line.  If there is no booth, you apparently have the right to cut in the regular lines, but you must do this at your own peril.  I’ve done it, but wouldn’t think twice about trying again.  People who’ve been waiting in line for 30 minutes to an hour have little sympathy for your excuse that “the instructions say that people with “e-tickets” can cut.”  One man threatened to clobber me if I went ahead of him, in the next line a mother with a baby pleaded with me not to go ahead, at the third they cried out: the window is about to close, go to another line! and so on… Apparently there are two websites that offer this service, but I’ve only ever used this one.

There is also an excellent mapping/directions called Marshruty Moskvy website for looking up addresses as well as transportation schedules for Moscow for looking up bus schedules in Moscow.

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September 17, 2008. Living in Russia, Web tools.

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