If you’re a tourist visiting Russia, you’ll be able to flag down an armoured reconnaissance military vehicle, now being used as a taxi to take you from point A to point B to give you the ride of your life.
The BRDM APC (Combat Command and Reconnaissance Vehicle) has fulfilled its role for the military and has recently been granted a taxi permit in St. Petersburg. The taxi is the result of a long licensing battle between the taxi firm that purchased it and city authorities. A permit for the APC was finally granted once the company agreed to do away with the vehicle’s camouflage paint. The owner had it painted ‘fire engine’ red to differ from the standard yellow taxi color.
Due to its weight, the taxi is prohibited from entering certain streets in the historical center of St. Petersburg. The BRDM’s cool feature is its amphibious capability. During St. Petersburg’s ‘white nights’ in the summer, bridges are raised every night for several hours to let big ships pass from Onega Lake into the Baltic Sea and vice versa. The taxi can deliver passengers to an address across the Neva, making tourists’ stay even more unforgettable.
The BRDM Combat Command and Reconnaissance Vehicle was manufactured in the Soviet Union from 1963 to 1989. Armed with a 14.5 mm Vladimirov heavy machine gun and a 7.62 mm Kalashnikov’s tank machine gun, the BRDM has insufficient armor for direct combat. It is known for its ability to drive on any terrain.
The interior of the vehicle has not been altered… it maintains its Spartan design to give people the authentic experience of riding in a Soviet military vehicle. A single ride cost 5,000 rubles which is approximately US $100. While it might now be the fasted cab in town, it is most certainly the safest…and the reddest.