When visiting St. Petersburg, we bought tickets for a hop on and hop off bus. It was me, my mum and my auntie visiting. It was the official City Sightseeing company.

There was a family ticket, offering a small discount for 2 adults and one child. When said we wanted a family ticket, they said we can't have it as there are a man and a woman on the picture, even though we were all family.

When asked, what if we were married to each other, the lady said same-sex marriages aren't accepted in Russia.

What can be done in such a situation and is this legal?

  • 3
    There is still a lot of homophobia in Russia, some of which is codified in law. Sep 23 '19 at 20:24
  • 4
    Are you a child? If not, why would you be eligible for the family ticket?
    – JonathanReez
    Sep 23 '19 at 21:03
  • 6
    What's your age? Often these passes are for children under 12.
    – JonathanReez
    Sep 23 '19 at 21:22
  • 5
    Usually not even brother and sister would be regarded as a family in this situation. Family ticket apply for parent(s) and child(ren). And not only in Russia, in other countries too (Germany for example).
    – Neusser
    Sep 23 '19 at 21:52
  • @Neusser I've seen that in some places (Berlin zoo, for example, is explicit about the family ticket being for adult(s) with their own children), but in my experience it's far more often defined as just x adults and y children. But regardless of which is more common, the latter certainly appears to be the case for the specific example in this question.
    – Chris H
    Sep 24 '19 at 6:33

Wherever I've been, family tickets apply to one or both parents accompanied by one or more children, with limits on number and ages of children. 'Aunt' (or uncle) wouldn't qualify, although you might get away with it if you ask. Just being related is not 'family' in this context.

Bus operators, zoos, theme parks, etc. can sell tickets on whatever discount basis they choose, subject to local discrimination laws, so the bus company are within their rights to refuse you their family ticket.

So, to answer your questions:

Is it legal? Yes.

What to do? Buy the proper tickets.


Yes it's legal. Their family is defined as parents of a child, I imagine you're not 12 or under, and your aunt is not your father.

  • "Their family is defined as parents of a child" where is that defined? The ticket description says "2 adult, 3 child", it says nothing about parents.
    – Chris H
    Sep 24 '19 at 6:27

This company explicitly states family as parents and child, and since you're in a homophobic country that requires and male and female parent to be acknowledged

  • 1
    "This company explicitly states family as parents and child" where? I can select a family ticket for their St Petersburg tour here with no stipulations beyond "2 Adult, 3 Child", and the terms of use and sale don't place any additional requirements.
    – Chris H
    Sep 24 '19 at 6:16
  • Parents are not Mum and Aunt. At least not in Russia. Sep 24 '19 at 15:02
  • @simonatrcl but who said anything about parents?
    – Chris H
    Sep 24 '19 at 16:30

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