MOSCOW, December 4. /TASS/. Drivers are stuck in a 12-kilmeter traffic jam in Moscow’s north, the Yandex Probki traffic analysis center told TASS on Friday when hundreds of Russian truck drivers protesting against a new road tax pledged to bring the capital to a standstill.
The longest traffic jam of this week formed on the crossing of the 109-kilometer Moscow Ring Road, encircling the capital, and the Leningradskoye highway, one of the city’s main thoroughfares.
Policemen have blocked traffic on all lanes of the ring road, leaving just one lane for cars, a TASS correspondent has reported from the scene. Trucks are not allowed to use this lane and their drivers said they had been waiting for over two hours.
The Moscow traffic police has given no comments on the situation so far.
The Platon system charging fees from heavy trucks with a mass of more than 12 tonnes for using the federal roads has been in effect since November 15. Up to March 1 2016 the truck drivers will have to pay 1.53 roubles (roughly four US cents) per kilometer. Under the existing plans the rate is to go up in the future. Over the first two weeks in operation the system raised 550 million roubles for the federal road fund. This year’s target revenue is 40 billion. The money is to be spent on road repairs.
Of late, truck drivers in different parts of Russia were staging various protest actions. On November 28 Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov held a meeting with a group of truck drivers to say afterwards that stopping the operation of the Platon system was impossible at the moment. The government and State Duma members have already taken compromise steps to lower the rates.