As you've probably heard or read - many Russians are using some taxi apps in order to get around the city. Someone will suggest a specific company because of the pleasant experience, some that they've traveled many times and accumulated good bonus miles, some just because the price is very low. Generally, the trips are relatively cheap but there are few cons and pros to know about.
- Yandex Taxi is a software company and a transportation services aggregator. Seeking for a personal attention is useless as you'll not get any.
- Yandex Taxi App is a fast way of getting a car to your door, just make sure that your smartphone is having an internet connection and figure out how the App works.
- Yandex Taxi and Uber have merged in Russia, therefore don't be surprised when you will get an Uber branded vehicle after the ordering the service from the Yandex Taxi App. It's also normal in Russia that the driver will subscribe to several aggregators. Here comes the problem that he will work around the clock to make a living and save on proper rest or sleep.
- Always keep in mind that often (50/50 chance) you will be driven by amateur fellow, who have subscribed to several aggregators (Yandex, Uber, Gett, Bolt, Vezet) and merely giving you a lift in order to get an extra buck on the way home from his work or during the weekend. Many guys from the Eastern republics are sharing a car and even the driver's license.
- The ride prices my vary, depending on the time of the day, traffic conditions, day of the week, weather etc. One can pay for the ride 300 RUB and come back for 700 RUB for the same distance.
- There are no or almost no English-speaking drivers which will be sent to you by Yandex or other aggregator. Make sure you enter correct pick up and the destination addresses as the drivers can read Latin letters though.
- Before ordering: it's very important to consider the amount of passengers and a luggage. Many cars are small and having a child seat in the trunk. Some will end up holding a suitcase on their knees.
- Many drivers are coming from small towns of former Eastern Soviet republics and their driving habits are way below perfect. We're also strongly suggesting not to involve in any argument with them.
- Be prepared to end up in a car that smells like an ashtray from time to time. Many drivers smoke and not hesitating of doing so in their cars, thinking that 10 minutes with the windows open will help get rid of the smell, which is actually terrible.
- Do yourself a favor and don't take a cheapest vehicle option. Comfort or business class will bring you much better experience and will have a good chance of not spoiling your stay in Russia.
- Some bank cards may not work with taxi apps. Have cash on hand in smaller bills and avoid giving 5000 RUB note. Firstly: your driver might not have a change, secondly: you can end up with having a pale of fake money given to you as change.
- The driver will always appreciate a tip, but that's purely at your own discretion.
- Using a taxi in St Petersburg in Summer during the night - don't be alarmed if your driver will be taking a longer road. Consider the drawbridge factor and plan your timing and a trip accordingly. The trip from the popular Rubinsteina street to Vasiljevsky island (3 kms) could take up to good 35-40 minutes via the Western bypass.
- There was a bad experience with the advanced bookings on many occasions. The driver will simply not show up at requested time. The applications designed the way to find you a closest to you car as soon as possible. That's the main point to have it. Ordering a vehicle for 03:15 am pickup will be at your own risk, especially on your way to the airport. Support desk will just apologize in case of no show and will assure you that it will not happen again.
- Use the Taxi App for short city trips, though the best way to experience St. Petersburg is by feet or on top of the hop-on hop-off bus.
- Pre - book St.Petersburg Airport Transfer with an English-speaking driver from the relevant company and get the wealth of information and useful tips from the local on your way to the accommodation or just have a pleasant chat. Being picked up right from the arrival hall by the transfer specialist will bring you much further than questionable saving and the transportation arrangements onsite.
The summary and all comments are strictly based on the experience of our customers. The taxi apps works well in Russia and there are many excellent drivers providing a great service every day. One just have to know how to use the apps and what to expect.
Always remember when using the Taxi App in St Petersburg:
- your smart phone must have an internet connection
- inform your bank that you're using your card for payments in Russia
- have a small notes to pay cash, never pay with 5000 RUB note
- consider the amount of passengers and luggage
- always enter pick-up and destination address prior to ride
- choose the correct side of the road in order to avoid lengthy u-turns
- consider the pick up spot where you can board the car comfortably
- it is a sign of good manners to shake the snow, water or mud off your shoes before getting into the car
- you will be able to submit a special requests, such as "strictly no smoking"
- don't take cheapest option
- having children below 7 y.o. - choose the "child" tariff or make sure that the child seat is provided
- the drivers don't speak English
- never argue with angry driver
- the quality of the service will be below your expectations 8 out of 10
- order the airport transfer from English-speaking service provider instead of the Taxi App
To wrap up: stay wise and safe. Welcome to Russia!