The Russian Railways form their pricing policy based on demand and seasonality. Sometimes, but rarely, passengers are also offered with special prices for certain seats and train routes. Though, in this article we would like to share with you several tips on how to purchase tickets at a more competitive price, considering the time of purchase and demand.
The first aspect you need to consider is demand dynamics. The Russian Railways apply dynamic pricing for the trains’ tickets: the price of the ticket will depend on how much demand is on a certain date, therefore during weekends and holidays, most probably, the prices will be much higher. This system is not applied for Platzkart carriages, commercial and “passing” trains.
The sales of the tickets across Russia are open 90 days prior to the departure date, and at the early stage the demand for them is higher, and thus the price is also higher. Later on, the demand is decreasing and the price is getting lower as well. People are also making more purchases closer to the departure date, but the demand for Platzkart carriages and carriages with seats is higher than for the 2nd class, this is the reason that, sometimes, just prior to the departure you can find unpurchased berths in the 2nd class with the cost of the 3rd class.
The second recommendation is to avoid the holidays. The prices for the tickets go up during the high season - in Summer, during New Year, May holidays and, sometimes, in November. During these dates, the prices are always higher, because of the seasonal coefficients. For example, the tickets on 28th to 30th of December would cost 15% more, but already on the 31st of December, the price is getting lower.
The cheapest time to travel is in January, March, April and at the end of September. Starting from November the prices for the long-distance trains go up, and during summer the price increases for the trains to the South destinations.
The last, but not least advice is to pay attention to the time of departure. The prices for the trains with departure at night and in the early morning, normally are lower, because of the lower demand. From Monday to Thursday there are also fewer travelers, comparing to weekends and Friday evenings, so the chance to find a ticket by a good price increase.