MOSCOW, September 22 (RIA Novosti) - Several senior Moscow officials left their cars at home and came to work on public transport on Tuesday, to set an example for the city's residents on Carfree Day.
Traffic police official Igor Koloskov told RIA Novosti that the event, being observed in cities around the world, has gone largely unnoticed in Moscow, with the main highways experiencing the usual morning rush-hour traffic jams.
However, "after the usual morning bottlenecks on the roads into the city and the center, we did notice a certain reduction in the flow of cars," he said, adding that normal traffic was expected by the evening rush hour.
"We hope next year more drivers will join the action," he said.
Among those braving the commuter crowds in Moscow was the head of Moscow's traffic security inspectorate, Sergei Kazantsyev, who used the metro and trolleybus to reach his office.
First Deputy Mayor Yury Roslyak said he had also used the metro and even walked the last part along Tverskaya Street to the Mayor's Office.
Oleg Mitvol, known for his high-profile days as a national environmental regulator, but now serving as prefect of Moscow's northern district, admitted that he had become so used to using his polluting vehicle that he "got lost" in Moscow's metro.
Sergei Mitrokhin, a lawmaker in the city legislature, told reporters he would be cycling to work.
The World Carfree Network, which has promoted the event since 1997, calls it "a showcase for just how our cities might look like, feel like, and sound like without cars... 365 days a year."
However, they urge drivers not to simply return to their normal routines after trying the alternatives.
"When people get out of their cars, they should stay out of their cars. It is up to us, it is up to our cities, and our governments to help create permanent change to benefit pedestrians, cyclists, and other people who do not drive cars."