Commuter Boats in Peril

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While traveling by boat around the city is fairly new in St Petersburg (Venice has had such services since 1881 for example), the fledgling business is already in peril and funding from the city is ready to be cut. The government has said the commuter boats, or water taxis, are unprofitable and because the trips are much cheaper than other boat trips and there is no time limit, travelers take advantage of the situation.

The first idea of the commuter boats was to reduce traffic on city streets and allow locals to use another avenue of transportation in the city. But with a cost of 100 rubles ($3.10) per journey for an adult and 50 rubles ($1.55) for a child, the prices are much less than a private boat, which charge 1600 to 3200 rubles ($50 to $100) per hour, or a river cruise which is 150 to 350 rubles ($4.65 to $10.86).

A result of this is that many tourists have been using the low fares on the commuter boats to take a sightseeing tour of the city from the water at much lower rates that the traditional options. Olga Galkina, a liberal lawmaker with the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly mentioned “Because some of the routes offered panoramic views of the city, the boats ended up being occupied by tourists for hours. It was indeed a good deal at the price of 100 rubles, but unfair on those locals who only needed to travel a couple of stops to get from location to location.”

However, as the prices remain for this Season it will still be a very viable option for tourists visiting St Petersburg who want a panoramic view from the waterways of the city. If you wish to have a more enjoyable and comfortable view from the water then a river cruise is certainly worth the price as seating is better, the boat offers a better view, and some boats offer food, drink, and entertainment. For those tourists who are budget conscious, the commuter boats will remain a favorite option.