Public transport in Minsk: Buses, streetcars, metro and taxi
Public transport will probably become one of the most popular means of travelling around the city for tourists.
There are four modes of public transport in Minsk: metro, streetcars, buses and trolleybuses. Here is how they look like in Belarus:
Buses, trolleybuses and other modes of transport are available from about 5 a.m. or 5:30 a.m. to midnight or 0:30 a.m.
Taxis and fixed-route taxis are possible alternatives.
Remember that when you are in the city it is cheaper to call a taxi rather than agree to go with "moonlighters". Numbers for calling a taxi can be easily found on the Internet.
Fixed-route taxis, commonly known as "marshrutka"
The Minsk metro is probably the most comfortable way of traveling to the center of Minsk where the key sights are located.
Please remember that the metro has a special facility status on a par with some government buildings, which is why do not take photos without getting permission from metro workers or policemen at stations. If you violate this rule it is not likely that you will be fined but representatives of law enforcement authorities may ask you to delete the photos. However, often people get permission to take some photos upon asking.
Even despite lack of foreign language skills every person will be glad to help foreign citizens in Minsk. If you ask for directions and want to get to the subway it is recommended to use the word "metro" which sounds alike in Russian and English.
Tokens and other travel documents can be bought at any station. Metro is open from 5:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.
This is how turnstiles look like. Tokens are round and red. They are thrown into the hole near the word ЖЭТОН to the left. Radio cards are blue. To the right, you can see a place for radio cards (a hand with a card). When you throw a token or touch your card on the reader a green arrow appears and you hear a signal indicating that you are allowed to pass. If three short signals are heard a red circle appears meaning that you are not let through.
Metro, streetcar, bus and trolleybus fares are published and regularly updated here. Public transport is the cheapest way of travelling around Minsk.
By the way, if you plan to stay in Minsk for a long time, it is cheaper to buy a ticket for a decade (10 days) or a month. There is also an opportunity to buy tickets for several trips (10, 20 or 30) but it is usually a bit more expensive.
You can choose the necessary combination and the number of travels at ticket offices located at the majority of bus stops.
Where to buy tickets
You can buy tickets at the Minsktrans kiosks, Belsoyuzpechat kiosks, at post offices and upon getting on buses, trolleybuses or tramways by asking drivers.
Remember that from September 1, 2014, there are no conductors in Minsk transport, which means that the driver is the only person from whom you can buy tickets upon getting on.
After you buy a paper ticket you must validate it. Just insert it into the hole of one of yellow devices.
Photo: Vadim Zamirovsky, TUT.by
You can also use plastic travel cards by touching them on the yellow validator.
There are a lot of taxi services in Minsk. You can dial short codes, use mobile telephones and even call a cab online. The most popular services can be easily found on the Internet.
Taxis are available at National Airport Minsk. It is a quicker and more comfortable way of getting to Minsk but it is much more expensive.
Car rental offices
You can pick up a car to your taste. This will allow you not to waste time waiting for public transport or taxi.
However, if you do not know the city well enough, it is better to hire a driver or take a car equipped with a navigation system. Rental prices start from $20-30 a day.
Parking lots are situated near many buildings in Minsk but there can be some parking restrictions, especially in the city center.