Taxis in Moscow and Other Russian Cities
Taxis in Moscow are expensive for the living standards of most local people. Taxi prices in other Russian cities are much lower, but the living standards are lower too. Because of high prices for taxis and because the system of public transportation in Russia is very well developed, most people in Moscow and other Russian cities get to any place by metro or buses. Taking a bus to an airport cost several times less expensive compared to a trip by taxi. However, for tourists taxi prices may seem normal. Taxis are especially helpful in Moscow when you need to get from one airport to another fast or go to a business meeting without worrying about being stuck in a morning crowd in an underground train wearing your perfectly ironed suit. However, taxis or any cars are no good in Moscow traffic jams which is a quiet frequent phenomenon in this city in the morning.
For safety purposes most tourists in Moscow and other Russian cities use official yellow cabs. It is especially better if you don't know Russian, as the drivers are more likely to have experience with foreign tourists. However, you may want to use private cabs because their prices are more negotiable. Most privately owned taxis do not use meters and you should negotiate the price before you get into the taxi. Do not hesitate to disagree with the price and refuse using services before you get in – after a good negotiation the driver may cut the taxi prices in half. Of course, being able to speak Russian or having a Russian interpreter would be very helpful in this situation.
In the airport area almost any car can be a taxi even if doesn't have a sign. It is enough to simply wave your hand in the air, a car will pull over and the driver will ask you where you are going. Of course, you should never use private taxis when you are traveling alone because it may be unsafe. If there is a person other than the driver sitting in the car, never get in. Call an official yellow cab company to pick you up or at least to give you an estimate of your trip. If you are at an airport, there are usually yellow cabs' phone numbers on many signs, or you can just ask for one at an information desk.