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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Metro Tokens Fall to March of Time




The Soviet Union is gone. The names of the city's streets have changed. And now history's march through Moscow has claimed its latest victim.


The translucent green tokens that bought a ride on the legendarily efficient marble-lined subway system Friday became a relic of the past.


Effective Jan. 15, metro tokens have been replaced by magnetic cards and will no longer be sold in stations, a spokeswoman said. Tokens previously purchased will still be accepted until Feb. 1.


The tokens - which vary in color from fluorescent yellowish green to pale greenish yellow - were a minor symbol of Russia's decade-long political and economic upheaval.


For generations during the Soviet period, turnstiles accepted a 5-kopek coin. The plastic tokens were introduced after runaway inflation in the early 1990s made kopeks worthless.


In another sign of the times, prices were hiked Jan. 1 with the 60-journey card rising 30 rubles to 120 rubles ($5.50). Today's 4 rubles for a single trip represents an increase of 8 million percent over the price 10 years ago. But with the ruble once again falling, a trip for about 18 cents is still one of the cheapest in Europe.


The demise of the tokens has brought about one other significant cultural transformation.


Since passengers began tossing used cards on the floor, the city has now begun placing garbage cans in stations, which previously had none.