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Transportation in the 90s Russia

Considering that the chaos was everywhere, it is naïve to believe that transportation was functioning well right after the Soviet Union collapsed.

One of my strongest memories is trams… Trams are environment friendly vehicles, which work from electricity. The keyword here is electricity… Due to severest inflation and economic problems, the tram organisation could not pay the related bills. As follows, there were electricity cuts, which usually happened rather unexpectedly, without any warning. Exactly at those moments, trams could be following from point A to point B with a significant number of people ‘onboard’. This means that trams could stop any moment in the middle of the street. There were more unlucky moments – stopping at the crossroads, yes, it happened rather frequently. It was an absolute mess, car drivers had to find the way to overcome the traffic obstacle, which from time to time could lead to an accident and more severe traffic jams.

Electricity cuts were not the only problem. Corrosion took over some parts of trams. I remember sitting and watching the road through a rather big whole in the floor of the tram. Trams got broken really often, too, and, yes, without any warning. Definitely, this was not the most reliable means of transport at that time.

Buses. I hated them, never in time. Often, there were only 1 bus on the route instead of 3 or even 4, so it was a lottery to catch a bus. In a cold winter, I was hiding from a biting frost in the nearby shop, hoping that the bus will arrive soon as there were no other option to get home.

At that point, a new means of transportation occurred – marshrutka – which exists nowadays in Russia. It was a route minibus, which could be stopped anywhere, literally anywhere breaking the traffic rules and causing potential danger to passengers and other drivers. Luckily, things have changed and marshrutkas follow traffic regulations (most of the time). A marshrutka ticket was more expensive than a bus ticket, which was not affordable for my family…

If you want to learn about other aspects, which I did not mention, please, ask in the comment section. 🙂

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6 thoughts on “Transportation in the 90s Russia

  1. another insightful and interesting post! it’s hard to imagine that trams stopped working because the electricity bill hadnt been paid! the transition into a completely different style of economy must have been so hard for the people

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I take it as being typical in a Russian city in the 90s? Were there localities that were better off than other areas? I grew up in the 90s in the US and we were fortunate to have well run school buses or any buses (I don’t know if any where in the US having run-down bus system, then or now) and it was a stark contrast to Russia. Have things improved?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I had never thought about how even the most basic daily routines would be affected. We take so much for granted in the US, and I suppose Russians did too before this time. It’s a good reminder to have gratitude for daily conveniences and to consider what to do if things change, since of course things can change anywhere at anytime. Thanks again for sharing these stories.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for the comment! Exactly! We never consider basic transportation as a sign of luxury. It is just a way to get from point A to point B. However, of it collapses, we are so much affected

      Liked by 1 person

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