To Ride Moscow Subway, It’s 30 Rubles or 30 Squats

To get people into the spirit of the Olympic Games, Russia’s making subway riders struggle to exercise in public.

In Moscow, you don’t take the subway to work. You work to take the subway.

To promote the 2014 Winter Olympic Games — the first for Russia since the breakup of the Soviet Union — the Russian Olympic Committee has fitted the Moscow metro with a vending machine that dispenses free subway tickets for exercise, the Los Angeles Times says. (It sort of sounds like that South Korean vending machine that makes you dance for free Coke.)

To get a free ticket you have to perform 30 squats in front of the machine, which keeps track of your progress, AFP says. It doesn’t sound easy, and you can expect a crowd to be watching you try.

“Some visibly struggled, throwing their arms in front of them for balance before a crowd of staring journalists and bystanders who counted down the squats before the machine spat out a ticket,” AFP says. You get two minutes to do it. Then you have to start over or pay the regular fare — 30 rubles, or about a buck.

The machine will be available until Dec. 3, while the games start in February. Other activities are planned to get people involved in the Olympics, including exercise bikes that produce electricity to charge cell phones, the Times says.

How much would you be willing to do in order to get a free ride? Exercise your fingers by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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  • DemosCat

    30 Rubles for a subway ticket? Holy mos-cow! 40 years ago during the price-controlled Soviet days, the fare to ride on the Moscow subway was 5 kopeks – a nickle. In those days, the exchange rate was fixed at $1.10 = 1 ruble. The Russians liked to pretend the ruble was worth slightly more than the dollar.

    Just goes to show how badly hyperinflation hit Russia after the Soviet fall in 1991, especially when you consider the ruble was revalued in 1998, so that 1000 old rubles = 1 new ruble. In terms of the Soviet ruble, the price of a subway ride has gone from 5 kopeks to 30,000 rubles, a 600,000 times increase.

    Let’s hope we never get hit by hyperinflation like that here in the US.

  • I love this idea. Great advertisement for the Olympics and great fun!!

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