Intercity Buses in Ukraine
Domestic and international buses
Every Ukrainian town has one or more bus stations where intercity buses come and go. Often — especially in smaller towns — the bus station is right by the train station, but not always. Buses come and go at all hours of the day according to their posted schedules. These include full-size state buses, full-size private buses, and the ubiquitous "marshrutki" (minibuses).
Today there are quite a few private bus companies in addition to state-run buses. Buses of these companies are modern and comfortable, with reclining seats, tinted windows, air conditioning, and a T.V. State-owned buses have a significantly lower comfort level (and hence price).
Buying bus tickets
With two or three different categories of buses stopping at the same bus station, it can be confusing trying to figure out how to buy tickets. The ticket office at the bus station only sells tickets for state-owned buses. If you take an intercity minibus ("marshrutka"), you pay the driver upon entrance after telling him your destination.
Cities that AutoLux (a major private bus company) travels to also generally have a local representative at the bus station or an office nearby selling tickets for their buses. I'm not sure whether you can buy tickets directly in the bus, even if there are free seats.
State-owned buses and minibuses do not require any documents for purchasing tickets (except for international routes), while private carriers like AutoLux do.
International bus routes
Buses are currently the most inexpensive form of international travel from Ukraine. The author has personally traveled from Kiev to Berlin, London, and Paris (separate trips) and has no plans to travel by bus again — not because of the price, but because it is highly uncomfortable. It is much easier to get rest at night on the train than even on the most comfortable bus with nice reclining seats. Therefore, I recommend traveling by bus only as a last resort.
Cost of travel
Here are some approximate prices for international travel (there and back, in USD):
- Berlin — $120
- London — $200
- Madrid — $300
I will post more contact info and instructions for booking bus tickets shortly.