To get to the university you can take a bus, a trolley or a share taxi called marshrutka. The share taxi takes passengers on a fixed route and cost only 25 rubles per ride (about 1 US dollar). The marshrutkas are very convenient because of the share taxi’s relatively high speed and presence in every corner of St. Petersburg. The share taxi drivers often drive minibuses called Gazel’. They are feisty little vans running all over the city.
Many of the marshrutka drivers are migrant workers from Central Asian nations. I’ve talked to a couple of drivers from Uzbekistan who told me that they came to St. Petersburg because they couldn’t find jobs in their home country. Every month they send money to their families who stayed back home in Tashkent and Chimkent.
The drivers’ identity is transnational, that is they maintain cultural ties with multiple communities across national borders. Their families live in Uzbekistan. Their main working community is in Russia. They also have ties with other male relatives who moved to other European and North American nations.