By taxi

In Russia and Moscow, the difference between hailing a cab and simply hitchhiking is blurry

New Moscow taxi company Taxi99.ru near the subway Taganskaya
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It is an old Russian tradition for drivers to offer rides to strangers, for a fee. For many Russians, it is like a second job (such drivers are usually called «бомбилы» (bombers)). Generally, wherever you are, at any time of day or night, you can get a 'cab' in a matter of minutes or seconds by holding out your hand. Hold your hand out low by your hip, not up high as they hail cabs in American films.

Normally, you tell the driver where you're going and negotiate an amount with you naming the first price. For many locations, giving the closest Metro stop is the best plan of attack. If you don't like the amount one guy is charging, you'll doubtlessly find another driver in a minute or two. Sometimes when you tell the driver where you're going, he'll decide he's not going in that direction and drive off. Keep in mind, though, that very few drivers will speak English. It is not recommended to get in the car if the driver asks you «Dorogu pokazhesh?», meaning that he doesn't know the way himself (nevertheless it won't stop him from charging you a greater price).

The «bombers» staying near bus stops and subway stations usually charge higher price than an accidental driver (as it's their paid up place of service), however they seem to be a bit safer, as you may find them there in case of necessity. Please also note that piacking up and transporting passagers for a fee by non-taxi cabs is illegal in Moscow since April 2012 (however all the responsibility shall be borne by the driver).

You should be able to get between most destinations within the Garden Ring for 200 rubles or less, unless it is a national holiday or hours when metro is not working. For example, a typical charge for a New Year's Eve is not less than 500 rubles.

New Moscow taxi company Taxi99.ru near the subway Taganskaya
pinterest button New Moscow taxi company Taxi99.ru near the subway Taganskaya   Eugene Alekseev, CC BY-SA 3.0

There are several taxi services operating in Moscow, the most noticeable on the streets being The New Yellow Taxi (Novoye Zholtoye Taxi). The cars are yellow Fords or Volgas (Russian car brand). They will charge the minimum rate of around 250 rubles no matter the distance. It is, however, possible to negotiate the price with the driver as well as he will basically switch off the meter and pocket the fare.

You can call a cab over the phone, too, but most Muscovites will do it only at night or to get to an airport. On some rare occasions phone taxi may be as bad as illegal as a street ride, but if you take your time researching in internet, you will find many registered taxi companies that offer completely safe and sound western-like services, some will even refuse to drive you if you don't wear seatbelt. Most western embassies will provide you with a list of tried and tested legit taxi companies that will send a cab to pick you up 24/7 anywhere in Moscow in a safe way at a decent price.

If you aren't good in Russian, there are several English-speaking taxi services operating in Moscow, for example LingoTaxi , who offer an English-speaking dispatch and driver service without extra charge, and also have German, French, Spanish (and other languages) drivers.

Note!

Beware of unofficial taxis that like to hang around tourist areas. They use a taxi meter, however their meter goes by some made-up, unofficial rate. A 10 minute ride can easily cost between RUB2500-3000 (close to $100), instead of RUB400.

Make sure to negotiate on a fixed price beforehand, or have your hotel order taxis for you, or use an professional English-speaking service, like LingoTaxi. Or use Russian apps like Yandex.Taxi and GetTaxi are popular ones.