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Russia - Driving and Public Transportation

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Foreign nationals visiting Russia as short-term visitors who wish to drive their own cars while in the country must hold an International Driving Permit and a national licence with an authorized translation. They must also carry their passport and visa at all times. They are required to submit details of their routes and planned stopovers when entering the country, to complete a customs form confirming that the car will be taken out of the country by a certain date, to purchase petrol vouchers at the border and to arrange Russian motor insurance. There are insurance officers at border crossings. A road tax is payable on entry to the country.

Road travel is only really possible within the European part of Russia, but even here roads outside the cities are poor and petrol stations few and far between in some areas. In Siberia and the rest of the country the few roads are unusable during winter.

Speed limits are 60 kmph in built up areas, 90 kmph in non built-up areas, and 100 kmph on highways. Driving is on the right-hand side of the road. It is against the law to sound the horn unless it is necessary to avoid an accident, and it is also illegal to carry unauthorized passengers or to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Cars must have registration plates and stickers indicating the country of registration, and must by law be fitted with seat belts, a first-aid kid, fire extinguishers and emergency triangle.

Within Moscow the traffic congestion is very bad, and typical commutes within the city are around 1 hour. Driving standards are poor, the traffic laws are not well enforced and accidents are common. Most expats find there is no need to own a car as the public transport is cheap and reliable, although very crowded in rush hours. Some choose to employ their own drivers, or have drivers provided by their employers.

In Moscow the main forms of public transport are the metro, tramway and trolleybus. The Metro stations are renowned for their elegant and grand decor, and the Metro services are frequent and efficient. The buses and trolleys tend to be much slower and are usually overcrowded. There are many official taxis, and it is also common practice for people in Moscow to hail private drivers and negotiate a price for a lift.

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