Apparently there is a Russian comedian who cites Frank Sinatra’s well-known song “My Way” as the mantra of Americans and uses this motif often in his sketches. Again, a grain (or pebble) of humorous truth found its way into my shoe more than once this year as I determined to go it alone (ad-NAH) on Samara’s public transport. Half the time, the journeys across town went smoothly (this word is used figuratively–there would never be such a thing as a smooth ride on Samara’s streets and rails). I felt pretty good about myself–finding the right bus or tram stop–remembering the number of the bus/tram/taxibus I was supposed to take–getting a seat near the conductor (ticket taker)–showing my transport pass card–asking her (always a woman) in decent Russian to tell me when we were approaching the particular stop (i.e. Chirimshanskaya, Aquarium, Giorgi Dimitriva, Krasnayarmysky)–staying alert for familiar landmarks–getting out of my seat and near the folding doors as my stop came close–hopping off without getting trampled–then walking to my final destination. This procedure typically took 45 minutes to 1. 5 hours, depending on traffic jams (probkas). Only twice was I in a big rush to get somewhere and took a taxi. I saved a bundle of money. A tram ticket is 10-15 rubles, depending on which type of vehicle one rides…that’s 40-50 cents. A taxi ride across town was 250-300 rubles. $7-10.00. Yeah…I’m all about the buses now.
Here’s some pictures of the transport options I had. Bear in mind, these shots were taken on a Sunday morning when the traffic was extremely light.