The Moscow metro is set to lose one of
its greatest features: the legion of dour Russian pensioners guarding
the transport system's escalators.
Barricaded in a small perspex box and armed
with a microphone, the attendants are charged with ensuring unruly
passengers follow the metro's many rules and regulations.
Daily tasks include terrorizing tired
commuters who sit on the escalator steps or issuing
passive-aggressive reminders on correct passenger flow.
They also control the escalators'
emergency stop button.
From April 1, 2017, the attendants'
role will be given to members of the metro's escalator repair team,
who will guard the staircases in between call-outs.
Some of the those
affected by the changes will be moved to other positions. Others will lose their jobs, Russia's Life news site reported.
Many of the attendants are pensioners who subsidize their state income with a monthly wage of approximately 14,000 rubles ($242).
Some have even become minor celebrities. In her 20 years working on the metro, the beloved “Auntie Lyuda,” based at the capital's central Oktyabrskaya station the attendant, became famous for gently berating passengers for bad habits such as slouching.
The Moscow metro boasts 649 escalators across its network. The longest escalator, measuring an impressive 126 metres can be found at station Park Pobedy.