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Duma Approves Increase in Fines for Ticket Dodgers

A tram with a warning for fare dodgers, known as “hares” in slang, reads, “Attention! Hares travel by foot!” Vladimir Filonov

The City Duma has authorized a tenfold increase of fines for ticket dodgers on Moscow buses, trolleybuses, trams and the metro, with the rules set to come into force at an unspecified date this month, RIA-Novosti reported.

Fines for fare dodging will be hiked from the current 100 rubles ($3) to 1,000 rubles, or one-tenth of the official minimum wage in the capital, the report said. A single-ticket ride on Moscow public transport costs 28 rubles.

The bill was pushed through Wednesday by United Russia, which controls the city legislature. The unpopular measure comes months before State Duma elections in December, although the City Duma will not face elections until 2014.

The bill also orders the creation of a new organization called Transportation Organizer tasked with imposing the fines — a job that state-owned Mosgortrans, which runs Moscow's public transportation system, excluding metro, is not eligible to perform. The organization will employ a staff of 300, each of whom will check 26 buses, trams or trolleybuses a day, initially accompanied by the police.

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