Tbilissi, Georgia, 2013
everywhere in the former Soviet empire, the look and feel of the metro has preserved quite well. The escalators are like a little time machine on which you travel into the underground past in cities like Moscow, Tbilissi, Kiew or St. Petersburg.
First of all, there is no elaborate ticket system with different options for long or short rides, or daily tickets, or stuff like that. There is a one ride=one ticket policy. Tickets come sometimes in the form of coins which you can keep in your wallet.
The escalators are in contrast to their western counterparts really fast and often quite long, because the stations are very deep. Sometimes, the ride takes you 2-3 minutes, and you feel air pressure in your ears. In 2010, when heavy fire in the forests around Moscow produced thick fog, the metro was one of the few places where you could escape the heat and the smoke for a few moments.
The stations are in many cases very beautifully decorated. Forms and features of classic architecture (arches, statues, mosaiques and frescoes), and sometimes even chandeliers. Everything is guarded by a small army of metro security people, which have small booths by every escalator, at the platforms, and upstairs by the entrance doors.
At the stations, there is a little digital clock which counts the time that has passed since the last train came through. At first, you think this is really weird since the information is not very useful. But on the other hand, trains come really often, every minute or two. Sometimes you catch yourself getting impatient because you waited for the metro already 90 seconds.