Sapsan train added a new class of service, called the Standard, and, consequently, new tariff that appears to be cheap, or, when some conditions apply, marvelously cheap. You can buy a trip from Moscow to St. Petersburg for merely 1540 rubles (25$ under current exchange rates), which is only a bit higher than for a third-class seat for the same route.
Sapsan is a high speed train (up to 200 km/h) going along the routes:
• St. Petersburg – Moscow – Nizhny Novgorod;
• St. Petersburg – Moscow.
It’s the most popular way to get from Moscow to St. Petersburg with striking ridership statistics in H1 2018 of 2.55 million passengers, up 10.6 percent to the corresponding period 2017.
There are 15 departures in each direction between Moscow and St. Petersburg from early morning till late night. Travel time is about four hours.
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With the introduction of the Standard class, Sapsan provides seven classes as of July 1, 2018:
• Business class;
• Bistro car;
• Conference compartment.
These classes differ by sets of services provided and, of course, price. The difference in price is changeable as exact fare depends from both the basic fare and demand for a class for a departure day. With high demand, for example, for the Economy class the price for a seat there may be less than for the Business class just a bit. So the common rule here is that the earlier you buy, the less you pay, in accordance with the basics of dynamic pricing. Now you can buy a ticket for Sapsan as well as other Russian trains 90 days prior to departure.
The Standard class, which one car in each train (or two cars in a double format) will be dedicated to, is the cheapest. We have checked it out to discover things which were surprising even for us. As you can see in the screenshot below, a trip by the Standard class on September 21, 2018 will cost you just 1540 rubles.
A seat at an overnight 3rd-class sleeper would cost you 1374 rubles, the cheapest travel by air would be 1990 rubles.
How come Sapsan, that’s so extremely popular, can be so cheap? It’s because you will not get additional services as is case with a traditional low-cost format anywhere. Can the elimination of these services be a problem for you? We think not.
For instance, two kinds of additional services are provided in the Economy class:
• a broadcast of music into your earphones and a broadcast of a movie on a screen under a car’s ceiling. The movie is demonstrated in Russian.
• an access to a virtual entertainment center to which you connect via your gadget with movies and games. There are movies in English too.
We think it’s what you can easily go without, especially if you have your own well powered iPad or a smartphone or something like that to watch a movie on or keep your kid occupied for a couple of hours.