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Moscow Introduces Paid Parking Downtown to Combat Congestion

Moscow, Europe’s largest city, is introducing paid parking downtown to combat one of the world’s worst congestion levels.

From June 1, drivers will have to pay 50 rubles ($1.60) an hour to park their cars inside the limits of the Boulevard Ring in Moscow, according to a statement posted on the website of the mayor’s office.

A pilot plan introduced last November succeeded in reducing average parking times in the areas concerned by 60 percent to one hour and 20 minutes, said Deputy Mayor Maxim Liksutov.

Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has vowed to focus on easing transportation and uprooting corruption after taking over in 2010 from Yury Luzhkov, who had governed the city of 11.5 million for 18 years.

Air pollution from traffic is a serious problem. More than 45 percent of drivers in the capital reported getting stuck in traffic jams exceeding three hours, or almost 2.5 times the average for the 20 cities examined in IBM’s latest Commuter Pain Survey released in September 2011. Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein said that year that traffic is the biggest obstacle to Moscow’s ambitions to be a global financial center.

Parking fees can be paid through text message, mobile apps or through parking meters, City Hall said. Residents can apply for annual parking permits that cost 3,000 rubles.

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