Creative Transport Offers Options to Beat Traffic
Published: June 22, 2012 (Issue # 1714)
Every year, the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum sees thousands of participants flood into the city from Russia and abroad, and this year’s forum is no exception. For those eager to escape the inevitable traffic jams, or simply try something new, The St. Petersburg Times has compiled a guide to alternative ways of getting around town.
For those preferring to take a more scenic route, there are a number of waterbuses that operate along the River Neva. The Central Line service runs between Smolnaya Embankment (opposite 6 Ulitsa Smolnogo) and Universitetskaya Embankment on Vasilyevsky Island (the closest stop to Lenexpo, the main SPIEF venue), stopping at locations including the Summer Gardens and Bronze Horseman along the way. The service operates at 15-minute intervals daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and costs 100 rubles ($3) for adults. For more information about aquabus routes and boat tours, visit gov.spb.ru/gov/admin/otrasl/c_transport/routes/aquabus
Although there are no bike lanes in St. Petersburg, cycling around the city is an exhilarating way to see its sights and beat the traffic jams. Rentbike.org, located at 10 Stolyarny Pereulok, is one rental service in the city that will deliver bikes to people interested in renting. Prices range from 150 rubles ($4.60) for an hour to 600 rubles ($18.40) for a 24-hour period and bikes can be rented online, over the phone or via text. A deposit of 4,000 rubles ($122.70) is required, or a passport and 2,000 rubles ($61.30).
For an eco-friendly, fun experience, a Segway PT is compact, fast and easy to operate.
Segway Piter has a rental point on Palace Square as well as two more outside the city, in Pushkin and Peterhof. Ten minutes’ rent on Palace Square costs 450 rubles ($13.80), while 2,000 rubles ($61.30) buys an hour and 8,000 rubles ($245) a day.
Segway Piter also offers individual tours of the city center, taking in St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the Hermitage, the Church on the Spilled Blood and other landmarks. Riding a Segway around Pushkin almost certainly represents a more laid-back experience, however.
Segway Piter is open daily on Palace Square from 12 p.m. – 11 p.m. (with additional night tours), in Pushkin from 9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m., and in Peterhof from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
During the SPIEF, it is best to book tours in advance either by phone (tel. 992 2851) or email at SegwayPiter@gmail.com. For more information, visit www.SegwayPiter.com.
Running from mid-April to mid-October, another possible mode of transport relatively new to St. Petersburg is the velotaxi. Velocab has been operating in St. Petersburg since 2006 and offers both tours around the city center’s main sites and taxi trips from place to place. Fares start from 200 rubles per person ($6.15) and are negotiated according to the time of day, duration and distance. Routes can be negotiated in advance, taking into consideration a number of factors including traffic jams: Perfect for the SPIEF. Velocab operates around the clock during white nights.
Velotaxis can simply be hailed on the street or hired (there are always several at any one time on Palace Square), but tours are best booked in advance by phoning Velocab on 913 26 69.
If all else fails or the weather puts a dampener on alternative forms of transport, a free shuttle service will be provided during the forum between Lenexpo, the main hotels in the city, and cultural program event locations. A full list of participating hotels is included in the appendices of the participant handbook and on the official SPIEF website, 2012.forumspb.com.
On June 22 and 23, shuttles run between the hotels and Lenexpo from
8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and return from
3.30 p.m. to 9 p.m.