Police in Moscow are to carry out checks on ambulances after reports that emergency vehicles have been fitted with plush interiors and are being rented out to VIP commuters hoping to dodge the city’s appalling traffic jams.
They face random checks after companies advertising rides in “ambulance-taxis” for upwards of 6,000 roubles ($200) per hour appeared on the internet.
The vehicles are said to use their sirens to scatter traffic and deliver harried businessman to meetings on time.
A law enforcement source told Izvestiya newspaper that one such vehicle had already been identified. “During a patrol, a medical car was stopped because it was breaking traffic rules,” said the source.
“The driver appeared strange, and did not resemble an ambulance driver at all.
“Police officers opened the automobile to check it and saw that the interior was fitted out like a high-class limousine with comfortable seats for transporting VIP passengers.”
The source added that inside the ambulance were “not medical personnel but some people in civilian clothes who refused to identify themselves.”
Moscow’s boulevards and ring roads are often at a standstill because of badly parked cars and a lack of restrictions on driving in the city centre.
The foul-ups are compounded when police block roads for official corteges such as that of Vladimir Putin, who causes gridlock when travelling to and from the Kremlin in his Mercedes Pullman.
In October, Mr Putin’s spokesman said the president would spend more time working at his home, the Novo-Ogarevo estate to the west of the city, to avoid being blamed for bottlenecks.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s office said he would be travelling more frequently by helicopter.
Source: NATIONAL POST