Random thoughts on St. Petersburg metro

  • Each station has its own unique design and flavor. It is exciting to go to a station you have never been before, as you have no idea what to expect.
  • Metro is clearly not designed for tall people. Escalator hand-rail is placed too low and you have to stretch your arm a little bit more. Plus horizontal bars in the metro cars are placed too low, so if you are taller than 190cm, than you run into a risk of hitting your head.
  • Speaking of the escalator hand-rails, they still haven’t fixed the synchronization problem between the hand-rail and the escalator ladder. The velocity of the hand-rail is slightly faster, so you have to fix the position of your hand now and then. This problem has been there, for as long as I can remember.
  • The metro network is now equipped with signs in English and transliterations of every station name. Now THAT is an improvement. As a slight overkill the personnel only doors have the “Staff only” text in English. Why? The doors are locked anyway and an English-speaking tourist would hardly have any business going through such a door.
  • The metro is dug very deep and a trip down the escalator can take quite a bit of time. Interestingly enough, you see many people pass the time while going up or down reading books and newspapers. St. Petersburg truly lives up to its name of a cultural jewel of the North.
  • You are obliged to free up your seat for any person that looks remotely like they deserve it. This etiquette goes sometimes into Kafkaesque territory. E.g. once a guy around my age took offense of me taking up a seat and told me to free up the seat for a middle-aged women standing a couple of meters away and not even looking into my direction. He gave me evil looks for the rest of the trip, after I declined. If you want to keep your seat, the best way is to get buried in a book or a newspaper.

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