Public transport – buses – in Kaliningrad.
Unless you have your own vehicle in Kaliningrad, you have to rely on public transport. Buses have designated routes and stops and are easily identifiable. It takes a little while to orientate yourself and to find out which buses run on which routes. After you have done that you will be fine.
How to use the public transport buses in Kaliningrad?
So how does it work? First of all, each bus has a number and sometimes a route displayed in the front window or on the bus. Getting on and off the bus is sometimes challenging. People push and shove and you have to run to get a seat. Men and women have to give up their seats for pregnant women, women with children, elderly people and disabled people. Buses can get very crowded during peak hours and pushing and shoving are not uncommon. You need to have patience.
Once you have taken a seat a lady with a roll of tickets will come and take your money. You don’t need special coins or cards. Please note, they do not accept large bank notes and get upset. For sure you are in for a fight and believe me it is not pleasant. I learned later that there are people who try to get a free ride by paying with large notes. It is understandable.
What not to do on public transport buses when in Kaliningrad.
This is what I have learned in the three months. Don’t start a conversation with the lady who is selling the tickets. Don`t smile at her. Just give your money and keep to yourself. Some of them are not friendly and unless you can speak the language don`t even bother. They are not in the mood for small talk.
Some buses have a standard rate and you don`t have to say where you are going. Other buses do not work like this. The lady will ask you at which stop you want to get off. You then pay accordingly. Always make sure that you know where you are going in case you end up on one of these buses.
When you approach your stop, get up and move towards the door. Sometimes women with prams and babies find it difficult to get off the bus and it is good manners to help them. They are always grateful.
It can be difficult to find a person who speaks English on the bus but somebody will help if you get stuck. I got away with basic Russian and never encountered any problems.
I found a couple of interesting buses, decorated with little teddy bears and other souvenirs. Some even have handmade curtains. I could see that they took great pride in their buses.
Enjoy the ride!
Where: Kaliningrad, Russia