The Russian Railways company (RZD), the only operator of all long-distance railway routes in Russia, said in a press statement it has made it possible for travelers to buy electronic tickets with UnionPay cards.
Until recently, you could buy Russian railways tickets with a UnionPay card at a ticket office only. As of June 11, you can do it online at the RZD’s website while being at any place around the world. The move is obviously targeted at Chinese travellers, and that’s a great news for them: they can now book very popular trains in advance, which means (in case of Sapsan train) lower prices and guaranteed seats. By the ways, you can book a Sapsan seat 120 days prior to departure date if this date being within a high season.
The most sought-after railway directions in Russia during high tourist seasons (May – September and end December – early January) are:
• Moscow – St. Petersburg;
• the Trans-Siberian route in the summertime;
• Moscow / St. Petersburg – the Russia’s South (Sochi, Tuapse, Krasnodar) in the summer;
• St. Petersburg – Helsinki served by Allegro train.
Please, note that UnionPay is valid for online purchase of tickets for long distance routes. It may not be valid for suburban trains, though, tickets of this type are available at any time throughout a year, so there is no need to book them in advance.
While UnionPay has been around in Russia since 2006, it has had to go a rather long way to become a ubiquitously accepted means of pay. As of today, nearly 85 percent of shops, entertainment centers, cafes, etc., equipped with POS-terminals, accept UnionPay cards.
For now, you can also pay with it for airlines tickets, for example, for Aeroflot’s, for an express train from Moscow to Moscow’s airports and so on.
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