Thursday, March 29, 2007

Marshrutka



I want to tell you more about public transportation. In a way, it's great. It's more common and more accessible (unless you're handicapped) than in many American cities.

The most common ways to travel are on a bus, or a marshrutka. What is that? Well, a big van, full of very small seats, none of which have a seatbelt. The idea seems to be to fit as many people as possible inside, so seats are turned every which direction. There is often a pole running from floor to ceiling. If you are unfortunate enough to climb in when all the seats are taken, you and your drunken friends can just stand/scrunch under the ceiling and hold onto the pole until you reach your stop.

I have mixed feelings about the marshrutka. I appreciate its originality and functionality. It is uniquely Russian in the same way that no one, of any age, ever wears a seatbelt in a car. Ever. My decision to do so is viewed with the same shock as my insistence on drinking tea without sugar in it.

But, they're not very safe. I haven't had any problems, but there are stories of vans flipping over from carrying the weight of too many people. News stories actually comment on the safest place to sit on a marshrutka (behind the driver's seat).

Some pictures from others until I post my own.

2 Comments:

Blogger Alexandra said...

Ah, yes, but the seat behind the driver is the worst, if you don't want to be stuck passing money up and down the whole way there!

4:22 AM  
Anonymous Russophile.com - Russian Gypsy Cab said...

Ah, the Marshrutka, I miss those things, but not nearly as much as the private taxi services often referred to as "gypsy cabs"

7:57 PM  

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