HANNOVER, April 23 (Itar-Tass) —— Moscow will develop legal tax service and build bike tracks in order to improve the traffic situation in the city, First Deputy Head of Moscow’s Department of Transport and Development of Road and Transport Infrastructure Yevgeny Mikhailov said at a round table at an industrial exhibition in Hannover on Monday, April 23.
There are 14,000 legal taxis in Moscow, while the city needs 50,000, he said.
As part of the solution, the Department of Transport and Development of Road and Transport Infrastructure signed an agreement signed by Russian Railways Company (RZD) to allow only legal taxis to operate at Moscow’s railway terminals.
“The document requires RZD to set up and equip taxi waiting areas near railway terminals,” the company said.
Railway Terminals Directorate will also give free access to taxi waiting areas to all vehicles licensed to carry out such activities in Moscow and the Moscow region and will forbid such access to vehicles without such licenses.
RZD said that areas around railway terminals have been included in the programme of railway terminals modernisation launched by the company. It plans to remove all points of sale from these areas, plant trees, build walking paths and parking lots, set up bus stops and parks with fountains and recreational areas. All commercial facilities will be relocated inside the buildings of the terminals.
The agreement between the city and RZD on the lease of the areas around railway terminals to the company was signed on May 20, 2011. “The Moscow city government leases plots of land adjacent to the nine railway terminals to RZD for purposes not related to capital construction,” the document said.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin earlier called for equal competition between licensed taxi drivers in areas around railway terminals in the city.
In May of last year, the city leased the areas around railway terminals to RZD. “The Moscow city government leases plots of land adjacent to the nine railway terminals to RZD for purposes not related to capital construction,” the document said.
However, the Mayor’s Office said that the number of unlicensed cabdrivers has increased in the city from no more than 7,000 last year to about 13,000 this year. The city authorities plan to increase the number of licensed taxis to 20,000 vehicles by the end of this year.
There are at least 40,000 illegal private taxis in the city. As a rule, they operate near marketplaces, subway stations or pick up passengers on the roads. Apart from not paying taxes, such illegal cabdrivers often use vehicles in improper condition, are barely acquainted with the city and frequently break elementary traffic rules in pursuit of profit.