Before we start, it must be noted that Moscow is an absolutely huge city. The mode of transport you take to get you around the city depends on how much time, and budget, you have. The bus system may be a cultural highlight for many but if time is not on your side, it may be wise to look into different options.
If you are staying in or around the Red Square, the options for getting around Moscow are wide and varied. If you have just completed one of the many Vladivostok to Moscow train tours, you will find the pace of life here quite overwhelming to start with. Getting a good grasp of the public transport system is a good way to get acclimatised. Your Tran-Siberian railway tour provider may be able to give you some handy pointers.
The Moscow Metro
If you are planning on staying in Moscow for more than 2 or 3 days, the best course of action is to purchase a red paper ticket which is pre-loaded with a number of single trips. The more trips you buy, the cheaper the ticket is.
The Metro is open from 5:30am-1:00am and on the whole, the signage is good, with destinations in English as well as Russian. Please note that this does not apply to every station on the network. If you have purchased a data package for your phone or tablet, you can take advantage of the free onboard WIFI to aid you with your navigation. Some of the Metro stations are deep underground, so bear this in mind if you have to be somewhere at a certain time. It should also be noted that there are two stations called Smolenskaya and Arbatskaya. These stations are not associated with one other or near each other, so be prepared for this in advance of travel.
Bus and Trolleybus
Every main street in Moscow has at least one bus and one trolleybus route. Using exclusive traffic lanes this, form of transport is fast, punctual and efficient.
Although absent from the city centre, there are tramlines which may be of use if you’re travelling outside of the usual tourist hotspots. There is a map and schedule available online if you wisely plan your journey in advance.
Used predominately by locals, the Marshrutka is similar to a public minibus and follows similar routes to many bus lines. Fares are paid directly to the driver and depending on your luck, may be driven rather erratically. These are slowly being phased out, but you may see the odd ones if you venture outside of the city limits.
These commuter rail will generally not be used by visitors and is mainly ridden by people travelling to and from work.
There are apps you can download which are very useful if haggling in Russian is something you want to avoid.
Whichever mode of transport you use for getting around Moscow, some advance planning is essential. Ask your Tran-Siberian tour operator for tips on the best places to visit and how to get to them.