Moscow cops told to pay up for ignoring bus lane rules

Several dozen police officers in Moscow are to learn a bitter lesson after they were told to pay hefty fines for driving in the city’s bus lanes for no apparent reason.

Forty-four officers have been spotted abusing the lanes, Moscow traffic police chief Vladimir Tomchak said.

There was “no professional necessity to account for this,” Tomchak said at a news conference on Wednesday. “There is evidence, and they will get fined.”

“Police should set an example.”

In all, about 2,200 motorists have been caught illegally driving in Moscow’s bus lanes since September.

Pyotr Shkumatov, leader of the grassroots motorists group Blue Buckets, dismissed the move as “mere window-dressing,” saying it would do little to encourage better behavior from Russia’s police force.

“For all you know, the fines may be just a pretext, say, to hold a news conference,” he said.

The group was formed last year to direct public anger over the misuse of flashing blue lights on Russia’s roads, and monitors offending vehicles. The lights, known as “migalki” in Russian, have come to epitomize the impunity afforded to businessmen and state officials who use them to bypass traffic rules.

The bus lanes, introduced this fall to help boost the number of people using public transport, have given VIP vehicles a greater license to flout the law, Shkumatov said.

He had no kind words for the lanes themselves, either.

“These lanes have led to a total [transportation] collapse,” he said. “They were made without proper thought, in places where they are least needed.”

“Not only do they not help sort out Moscow’s traffic problems, they are simply disgusting.”

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