Hamburg and Saint Petersburg are twin towns, but family members do not always look alike – especially in terms of public transportation. FINK.HAMBURG visited Saint Petersburg and discovered unique professions in both cities.

The Saint Petersburg metro is one of the deepest in the world. The Admiralteyskaya station is located at a depth of 86 metres. It takes you an escalator ride of four minutes to get to the platforms. Most citizens spend their time reading books, using phones or daydreaming. But some have to stay highly focused. Without them, the metro could be a place of chaos. Let’s talk about the escalator operator.

They watch for the passengers safety

Rosalia Aleeva (Алеева Розалия) has been working as an operator in the subway for 16 years now. Her working day starts when other people are still sleeping.

„I have to wake up very early in order to check the functionality of the escalators. But my responsibilities include more than that. I have to take care of the peoples safety. There are video cameras located on the balustrades, so I can watch the people on the escalator through the monitors in my booth.

Rosalia Aleeva sits at the bottom of the escalator in a booth.
Rosalia Aleeva sits in a booth located at the bottom of the escalator. Foto: Nikolas Baumgartner

It is important to watch bags on the steps. If they fall down, they can hurt someone. I also make voice announcements to remind people that they should not run, because it is very easy to stumble when you are in a hurry. In addition I have to pay specific attention to the actions of children. When I see that something is wrong, I stop the escalator immediately.

„I love my job with all the disadvantages and advantages“

I love my job but it has some disadvantages: I can always hear the whistle of moving trains and the air I breathe is not fresh because of the dust from peoples outer clothing. I don’t have a lot of oxygen in my booth and sometimes staying awake is challenging. I have a special button on my control panel that helps me to prevent falling asleep. When I press it, new oxygen is led into the booth. Another button controls the light intensity.

The escalator operators watch the people coming down to the subway.
The escalator operators watch the people coming down to the subway. Foto: Nikolas Baumgartner

My job also has many advantages. It requires constant concentration. Thus, it never gets boring.  I enjoy communication with people – with tourists and citizens. They ask me questions sometimes, for example on how to get to a certain station or place. I see subway as a very well-established system of interactions between workers. I’m glad to be a part of the system and I’m proud that people get home safe because of my work.“

Dieser Text ist im Rahmen des Studierenden-Austausches der HAW Hamburg und der School Of Journalism and Mass Communication der State University St. Petersburg entstanden. Russische und deutsche Studierende haben dafür in journalistischen Tandems zusammengearbeitet.

Authors from St. Petersburg: