Duma votes to allow Russian cities introduce paid entry zones for cars

Duma votes to allow Russian cities introduce paid entry zones for cars
The Russian lower house passed in the first reading a bill allowing regional and municipal authorities to introduce paid entry into certain zones of cities in order to improve traffic conditions, as well as road safety.

Of the 450 State Duma MPs, 420 were present at the Friday session. Three hundred and nineteen of them voted in support of the bill, with 100 against and one abstention.

The draft document prepared by the government allows local authorities to ban and regulate automobile traffic in cities by introducing paid entry into certain areas. An explanatory note attached to the bill describes its main objective as improved efficiency of traffic and road safety. The sponsors of the bill also want to define and separate the powers of federal and regional bodies in regulating paid entry in cities.

Over the past few years, city authorities in Russia, especially in the capital, Moscow, have been tightening traffic rules seeking to solve the problem of congestion that inevitably appears with city growth. In particular, Moscow City Hall increased the area of paid parking and drastically raised the fees, simultaneously introducing separate lanes for public transport.

The measures caused protests among motorists. About 2,000 people participated in the latest such event, organized by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation in central Moscow on Thursday evening.