Paid Parking Runs Into Problems, Spurs Protests

While paid parking might be necessary to tackle Moscow's traffic problems, only one day into the experiment left many drivers unhappy.

A pilot project that runs in 21 streets in Moscow from Thursday has already caused some concern, as paying for a parking space was tricky, if not altogether impossible.

Paying using a cellphone wasn't possible today, and drivers were forced into long queues to use one of the few parking terminals, RIA-Novosti reported Thursday.

Many complained that no instructions on how to use the terminals were available, causing confusion and turning people elsewhere for help.

Meanwhile, keen policemen patrolled the streets, looking for unlucky drivers who had failed to obtain a 50-ruble ($1.6) parking ticket, Metro reported.

"I couldn't make a payment due to a technical fault, but these dudes from the transport department told me that was my problem," one driver tweeted.

According to the new law, he will be liable for a hefty 2,500 ruble fine.

Activists are already preparing a petition and a protest against paid parking, Ridus reported. A group called Angry Citizens said it would hold a rally against paid parking on Friday.

But some believe that paid parking might discourage old or stalled cars from taking up the valuable space in the busy city center.

"I hope that this leads to fewer cars and fewer cheap cars downtown," one Muscovite said.

The project will run until Feb. 28, 2013, and, if successful, could be expanded.

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