Pay-to-park tackles Moscow jams
CORRUPT TRAFFIC COPS TO LOSE BUSINESS: Traffic authorities in Moscow are hoping paid parking in the city will help ease traffic congestion - and appease foreign investors.
MOSCOW, Russia - Moscow city authorities have stepped up their war on traffic congestion by introducing paid parking in the centre of the Russian capital after appeals by Vladimir Putin to make it more appealing to business.
Chaos has ruled on Moscow's roads since cars became more affordable after the collapse of the Soviet Union two decades ago. Traffic often gridlocks and drivers resort to double-parking or block pavements.
Drivers have been able to bribe their way out of traffic or parking offences but many foreign investors cite traffic congestion and pollution as two reasons they find Moscow an unattractive place to live and work.
All that is supposed to change under a pilot project to charge drivers 50 roubles (about R13) an hour to use one of 500 parking slots on central streets. Drivers who don't pay will be sent fines equivalent to about R700; the average monthly wage in Moscow is the equivalent of about R12 500, news agency Itar-Tass said.
Professional driver Sergei Polikov, 45, said in a central street where the new pay spaces filled by noon: "I think the project will benefit Moscow. I don't know if the authorities will succeed because all previous attempts have failed - but they are working in the right direction."
He hoped this the latest attempt to control traffic would succeed.
However engineer Yuri Andreyev, 33, who commutes from the outskirts of Moscow, added: "I'm all for it. At least somewhere there will be order."
Asked if the measure would help reduce traffic jams, he said: "No, it will help to fill pockets."