Here’s a step-by-step guide on using the Moscow Metro

Have you planned your vacation yet? Is Moscow on your mind? Visiting the capital of Russia in the winter offers an amazing experience. Overseas students in Moscow and nearby towns should utilise the holidays to visit the popular tourist attractions including the Kremlin and the Red Square. Moscow acquires a magical aura when it snows. 

You may not mind the snow, but you can evade the winter chill for a while if you go underground! Where? The Moscow Metro. The Moscow Metro, which is also known as the People’s Palace, too is a popular destination for tourists arriving in the city. Several metro stations are renowned for spectacular architecture and splendid artwork. To know more about it read:  

Here we explain how to travel on the Moscow Metro like any regular rider who is a resident of the city. 

The metro trains are available from early morning to a little after midnight. The service time is 5.30 am to 1.00 am. The last train departs from the terminal stations at 1 am.  

While in Moscow it is easy to find the metro station. The red letter “M” can be seen outside metro stations. You may use one of the entrances and exits that is convenient to you.  

Letter M-symbol of underground transport-metro in Moscow. Photo: Shutterstock/Igor Zvencom

The metro trains are the most convenient mode of transport for commute within Moscow. Their frequency  is high: in peak hours one arrives in 1 to 3 minutes and during off-peak hours it is one every 4 to 7 minutes on most lines.  

You may use the metro just for an experience or for your travel to any tourist destination, including one of the marvellous stations famous for art, sculpture and design. 

Any city and its transport systems baffle a newcomer. Tourists and students, especially those from abroad, will be at their wits’ end as they proceed to take the metro. Follow the tips and instructions below on using the Moscow Metro. They will help you to save time and money as well as take the right train in the right direction on the most suitable line.  

• If you are tourist or student new to Moscow you may first download the Yandex Moscow — Metro Map. Each line of the Moscow Metro is identified by a name, a number and a colour. 

• On the metro map click on the departing station and destination station. 

• On the left panel your route is shown. Also shown are the duration of the ride, the waiting time for the train, the best cars to board, the number of intermediate stops and transfers, if any. 

Lomonosovskiy Prospekt station of Moscow metro. Photo: iStock/invizbk

• As you reach the nearest metro station, marked by the M sign, spot the Entry gate marked вход. (The exit gates bear the sign выход.) The signage also shows the station name and the line number.

Where to get tickets

• Proceed to the ticket counter marked KACCA. Or else you may use the ticket-vending machine.

You may tap your ticket on the card reader before the turnstiles as you proceed to the platform or before exiting.


A single trip cost just 55 Rubles (as of Nov 22). The journey distance doesn’t matter: you pay this amount even if you get down at the next or last station on the line.

Photo: iStock/Nataliya Rodina

It is so convenient that one ticket is valid at all stations of the Moscow Metro in any direction, on any line and without any time limit. You may change trains as many times as you like. Your single ticket expires only when you place it on the reader placed before the exit turnstile.

Carry cash of smaller denominations or coins for buying tickets. Only cash can be loaded into ticket-vending machines.

Metro personnel are keeping a watch around the turnstiles. If in trouble you may gesture to them. Don’t expect them to converse in any language other than Russian.

Types of tickets, Troika card

• Tickets are in the form of paper cards. There are single tickets, multi-ride tickets and reusable Troika plastic card that can be recharged.

• Tourists may consider buying a daily ticket or a three-day ticket. The former costs 230 RUB and the latter 438 RUB.

• Buy multi-ride tickets if you intend to take the metro more than once during your brief stay in Moscow. You can save time by avoiding queues to buy tickets. They are economical too — cheaper with more rides: a 60-ride travel card costs 1,970 RUB.

Commuters in Novoslobodskaya Moscow metro station. Stain glass panels form the central theme for this station opened in 1952. Photo: iStock/Lisa-Blue

• Moscow residents use the Troika card as it saves time and money. Every additional journey is charged only 35 RUB, whereas the normal fare for a single ride on a normal paper card is 55 RUB.

Troika card by itself costs 50 RUB and ride charges are extra. Recharge the card as you use exhaust the value. You may top-up the card online, on a mobile phone app, at the Metro ticket booths or at automatic vending machines.

Go for Troika card if you intend a longer stay in the city or you may return often and may use the metro or other modes of public transport often for commute. With a Troika card in hand your entry to metro station platforms is a breeze. Arrive at the station and proceed straight to the turnstiles! Use it on buses, monorail, trolley buses and trams too. The fare may not be the same for different modes of transport.

NOTE: The Moscow Monorail serves the northeast part of the city for a short distance on an elevated track.

The balance on the Troika card can be used to buy tickets for Aeroexpress trains that take you to the Moscow airports as you leave the city or country. 

If you return the Troika card, the 50 RUB you paid initially will be refunded.

• Payment apps and credit cards too can be used to download/buy tickets. Ensure the card or mobile payment app is valid before tapping the card/phone on card reader/turnstile. Approach special ticketing offices if you need help.

Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay applications are accepted.

Visa and MasterCard issued outside Russia are not accepted owing to economic sanctions in the wake of the Ukraine conflict.

This sculpture called the ‘Belorussian partisans’ is on the councourse linking the Belorusskaya stations on the Central Circle and Zamoskvoretskaya lines of the Moscow Metro. It commemorates those who defended their Motherland in Belorussian forests during World War II.

UnionPay and MIR bank cards are valid.

• Students are allowed concession. Obtain a student travel card by presenting your university documents at the Metro counter as soon as you complete the admission formalities.

NOTE: As prices and facilities are subject to revision you may check the Moscow Metro website prior to your arrival. 

On the escalator, platform and train

Tourists should keep the bilingual colour map of the Moscow Metro in your pocket or bag as soon as they arrive at the station. Refer to it for ascertaining the line, its colour code and the destination station. Remember a few stations on different lines bear the same name!

• Now, with the ticket in hand you may proceed to the turnstiles. Place the ticket/card on the card reader. As it opens move ahead to the escalators.

An underground station of the Moscow Metro.

You may follow the signage as you proceed to the platforms. They are in both English and Russian. Ensure you go to the right line if the station serves more than one.

Notice the coloured signs on the floor or wall of the concourse. They should match the metro line you intend to take if multiple lines pass through the stations. There won’t be scope for confusion if the station is on one line.

• Stand on the right of the escalator. The left side be left free for people in a hurry running down or up.

• As you reach the platform identify the direction you want to take. If in doubt ask passengers or the metro employee seated in a cabin placed near the base of the escalator.

Signages in both English and Russian are found at the metro stations. English signages were introduced ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup that Russia hosted.

• As the train arrives let passengers get off first. Then, jostle your way in, if crowded, and stand away from the door as you do in other subway systems in your country.

• Sit, but allow old people, to take it. Many travel websites advise Russian grannies are offended if they are not offered the seat!

• Count the stops. Or else notice the panel above the doors to identify the stations. Notice the toggling red light beside the next stop.

• Another way to keep a track on stations is noticing the signs above the escalator or on the wall of the tracks.

• Also pay attention to the onboard announcements of stops. They are in Russian and in English.


1. Announcement in a male voice is heard on the trains travelling to the centre of the city and in a female voice on those in the other direction.

2. On the circular line the stops are announced in a male voice on trains running in the clockwise direction; if a woman’s voice is heard you can be sure the train goes counterclockwise.

Don’t worry if you fail to get down at the intended station. Alight at the next station and take the train in the opposite direction. The ticket is still valid even if you change trains or switch lines.

Warning! Don’t get down at the Aeroport metro station. No airport nearby.

Also note Circle Line No. 14 of the Moscow Metro is also called the Moscow Central Circle or MCC in short. It is only partially underground and has some elevated parts and some at the surface level. The MCC route, not exactly circular, passes through the old borders of the city. The MCC is different from the underground Circle Line or Line No. 5 running close to the centre of the city. The latter, the most important line, is often marked as the “Koltsevaya line”.

Enjoy your metro ride.