Drivers Will Soon Pay With Plastic

Drivers will soon use plastic cards instead of cash to pay for parking in central Moscow, a city official said.

Leonid Lipsits, head of City Hall's transportation and telecommunications department, said Wednesday that the men in green vests with "Parking Service" on the back would start to disappear from city-owned lots Jan. 1.

Drivers instead will buy plastic cards at kiosks and insert them into parking meters at the city's 120 parking lots, he said. Drivers will be able to pay in cash at some lots until April, when the whole system will be switched over.

In the longer term, the parking meters will accept debit and credit cards and even payment by SMS, Lipsits said.

Hourly parking fees are 40 rubles within the Garden Ring, 30 rubles between the Garden Ring and the Third Ring Road and 25 rubles elsewhere. Drivers complain, however, that attendants often try to charge them more and do not give receipts.

Lipsits said the fees had not yet been set for next year. Drivers will need to pay in advance for the amount of time they plan to park and, if they stay longer, pay the remainder when they leave, he said.

The city-owned company City Service of Paid Parking controls about half of the 8,000 parking lots in Moscow, most of which it subleases to private operators. The other 4,000 lots are operated by private companies, which have signed deals with City Hall that bypass City Service of Paid Parking, Kommersant reported Thursday.