Taxis in St Petersburg are expensive so residents tend to wave at local drivers to flag them down and ask for a lift . Therefore "taxi " in Russian is a really vague term.
Anyone who has a car in Russia can be a potential taxi driver. These private cars have formed the basis for a system known as paid hitch-hiking. They are cheaper and very popular among Russians because a ride with them cost half as much as than the regular licensed taxis.
Along with these freelancer taxi drivers, you can find also several new legal taxi companies that have lowered the prices, improved the vehicles and established fixed prices based on distance. In this way the full price is accurately stated!
However, despite the birth of these well run newer companies, offering reasonable prices and a professional service, the overall taxi system in St Petersburg as for all Russia, is still not efficient as in Europe, even though it has improved a lot in the last few years.
So, don't expect to see only official Russian taxis running in the city of St Petersburg. Stay away from the so called taxi mafia run by Gypsies (There aren't as many as in the past, but maybe some are still out there☺). Always make sure to find out how much you will pay before you hop in, and if you want to feel safe, then you should only call or look for a legitimate taxi.
Don't have time to read all? If so, click on a topic below to fast-track to that section:
Looking for taxis in St Petersburg? Wondering which one to choose? If so, follow our tips, and listen to your gut instinct.
Since most of the Russian public transportation in St Petersburg stops functioning at night, you will surely need to get a taxi if you want to go back to your hotel or if you arrive late at night at Pulkovo airport.
Of course, you can travel by taxi during the day to/from any site you want, but taking the Sant Petersburg metro, buses, or marshrutka would be much cheaper for you. However, as the last two means of transport are still not fully ready to serve tourists (due to the lack of English signs) honestly the metro is the best option.
That said, you will mostly find taxis in the city center, near any metro station and outside major clubs or restaurants.
Some of these taxis in St Petersburg will be private, others will be official. But, they all will work around the clock and bring you safely to your final destination.
However, some taxi drivers will try to take all your money to drive you to your hotel or to/from St Petersburg airport. As you can imagine, tourists and travellers are always targetted.
So, the best practice would be to phone a legitimate taxi company (not all companies have English speaking operators) where you will be quoted an approximate price for your journey. So, no bad surprise but just a fair price!
Alternatively, if you stop random Russian taxis on the street, then you should ask beforehand how much you will be charged and possibly bargain with the taxi drivers as much as you can.
Lastly, you should also check if the car has any rightful taxi sign or taximeter (this will give you a sort of indication if the taxi is an official one or not).
Wondering how much it is for the price of a ride for taxis in St Petersburg Russia?
When getting a taxi you will notice that most of the taxis in St Petersburg are relatively cheap during the day and more expensive at night.
An accurate fare ride would be a hard task to estimate because all taxi companies in the city have their own price.
However, recently we did a little investigation by
calling some of these reputable taxi companies in the city to compare their prices, and so we have an idea.
What we've found out is that...
The minimum average fare for a ride (up to five km) start from 280 rubles (€7.00/9.00$ ) and can be up to 350 rubles (€8.60/$11.60 cents). Also, for each further km you will pay something extra that can be roughly from 35 rubles (€0.90/$1.00) to 45 rubles (€1.10/$1.50).
There are still many taxi sharks out here, so choose yours carefully!☺
Usually all taxis in St Petersburg should have a taximeter or a taxi sign, but this is not always the case. So, it might so happen accidentally that you take a not authorized taxi or a random Russian car on the street. No worries!
Remember that most of the cars in front of the airports, train stations or bus terminals, or those waiting on the streets might be potential taxis, although not all will be legitimate.
It doesn't matter if they carry taxi
signs or not. It doesn't matter if they have taximeters or not. Always pay attention to what you choose.
Since you will most probably not speak Russian, you will easily be noticed as a foreigner and the bargain will start for sure from a high price, often double the normal fare.
Therefore, when looking for taxis in St Petersburg on the street, you should always negotiate the city taxi fare, both if you take a private taxi or an official one. It would be the opposite if you've made a reservation before with your hotel or someone else. In this case all will be fine because you will know the price earlier.
It could be a really funny and unique experience, but you should take your precautions!
Flagging down a random car and
paying for a ride is perfectly normal for Russians. That's why every private vehicle is a potential taxi.
After midnight, when the metro stop running, these freelance taxis become
a major St Petersburg transportation resource for many locals because they are cheap.
However, for visitors like you travelling in an unmarked car may seem unsafe, and so, it is then advisable to take caution.
Basically, you should pay attention to whom you get in with, don't wave your hand to a car with more than one man inside, or to a car with black windows. If a car you don't like stops for you, kindly ignore it or nod a 'no' with the head saying ("Spasibo" - Thank you) and step back.
That said, if you really want to experience a ride with the old Russian car "Lada", then, you must follow a certain protocol. Stand by a main road and stick out your arm - palm down. Always agree a price before, asking in Russian language ("Skolko" - How much?), and then, if you agree with the price get in.
Usually a fair price when travelling within the center is 200 rubles (€5/$7.00)
The morning is usually the safest time of the day to flag down one of these cars as drivers are often people going to work. But if you decide to try this at night, make sure to get in the car with a friend or it will be at your own risk!
Are you thinking to take a taxi upon your arrival?
When you take a taxi outside the small
Pulkovo airport, you should be aware that
taxi drivers may ask something like 2000 rubles (€50.00/$70.00) to take
you to downtown. It would be the same price if you go to the airport with a random taxi.
So, when taking taxis in St Petersburg you should always agree on the price first, or much better book a taxi upon your arrival at the airport. It is worth the effort!
Located in the arrival areas of both terminals, there’s an official taxi company "Taxi Pulkovo" that runs from the airport to the city. Its booth is at the arrival area, open 24/7. Here, they will inform you about the exact fixed price of your trip and they will invite a taxi out of the list of official carriers.
Also, they will provide you with an invoice that you will have to pay to the taxi driver at the end of the journey.
That said, a fair price from Pulkovo airport to the city center should be something around 500-800 – max 1000 rubles - (€15/€20 - $20/$25 max €25/$30).
If it is not rush hour the estimate travel time to get from the airport to the city or the way around is 20-30 minutes.
Since the increase of legal taxis in St Petersburg, plus the recession that has lowered the prices for these licensed taxis, the incentive needed to get amateurs taxis to take passengers increased somewhat. Now you won't find such a big difference in price between paid hitchhiking and taxis.
However, if you really need to take a taxi, we suggest that you look for a reputable official taxi company like the "Taxi 068", "Taxi 1000000", "New Yellow Taxi" (tel: 600-8888) and the "Taxi Komandir" (tel: 988-8888).
Today, these taxis in St Petersburg are some of the most companies in the city.
That said, the only way to pay normal rates is to speak Russian. So, when possible, try to ask your hotel, bar, restaurant or beg someone near you to call for a taxi.☺