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    Hares hop turnstiles - but not for long?

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    Things are turning in great style in Moscow. But do you know what? They're thinking of getting rid of the turnstile on public transport.

    Things are turning in great style in Moscow. But do you know what? They're thinking of getting rid of the turnstile on public transport.

    This might seem like a trivial thing to you, but it's been keeping me up nights.

    I'm telling you now. It's the mayor. Takes a very poor view. Says the barriers cause buses and trams to clog the streets as your man queues up to clamber in. And do you know what I'm going to tell you?

    Sergei Sobyanin, the mayor, he wants the ticket inspectors back in. Says he can't stand the sight of fare-jumpers. Hares he calls them. And what else are they? Says he knows a thing or two about hares, wouldn't hear of anybody deliberately sneaking through barriers to avoid paying. Says a fine increase would see them right. How would you like that? Says fare evasion costs the city millions of dollars in lost revenue every year. Not a man to get on the wrong side of, the mayor.

    But hold your hares now.

    Of course there's all classes of rumor doing the rounds now. One says commuters already facing rising fares could - wait till you hear this - REBEL against the plans for fears of further cost increases. Of course that's between you and me and the lamppost.

    "I don't really like the current system," Nelly, 21, tells me as we ride in a rickety bus. "But I'm totally against the ticket inspectors. I remember when I was a kid they would always be, like, stalking you around."

    "If only people were more honest, things would be way simpler," she says.

    Other people say ways to avoid paying are so profuse and the pleasure of beating the metal arms so intense, nothing would stop the hares from hop-hop-hopping from the fare.

    "I never pay for tickets on buses," Yury, 74, brags. "And it just makes you feel so good, you know, bucking the system and all that."

    But most often you'd hear people say it is just not going to happen. Force of habit, they say. Don't open old sewers.

    "Honestly, I don't think anything is going to change," Yelena, 48, says. "Nothing ever does, so why would it this time?"

    And I'll tell you a good one. The biggest problem Sobyanin has with Muscovites is they don't care. A sardonic laugh escapes them as they put on their hare ears and take out a carrot. You know what I mean.

    But yes, there are people who hanker after order. Iron fists and metal arms.

    "I think it's a crime and anyone caught evading their fare should be thrown to prison," Vasyok, 56, slurs as he crawls under the turnstile.

    The views expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

    MOSCOW, March 10 (RIA Novosti, Alexei Korolyov)

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