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The Bulletin

Russians exercise right to free subway rides

Posting in Transportation

Fed up with paying for public transportation? Or maybe you're panicking because you left your card and cash at home and you need to hop on the subway now?

Don't fret. If you're in Moscow, you have another option. No, it's not leaping over the turnstile, but it's equally energetic: For the price of performing 30 deep knee bends within two minutes, you can climb aboard, which may be exactly how you would have to physically embark once you finish the rigorous leg movements.

The BBC reports that the metro system has equipped stations with vending machines that dispense a one way ticket after sensors determine that you've completed the task within the time limit, and that your "squats" were all up to snuff and not little cheating mini-dips or something. Watch the video below to see how it works. (Try not to imagine what might happen if it's 2 a.m. and the exerting commuter is a woozy, vodka-saturated reveler with no coins left in his pocket).

The gimmick is the brainchild of the Russian Olympic Committee, which is trying to whip up a healthy, sporty spirit in advance of February's 2014 Winter Olympics in the Black Sea city of Sochi.

The hidden headline in this story: The huffing and puffing will save you all of 30 rubles for the single fare, which is about 92 U.S. cents. When was the last time you paid less than a buck for an underground ride in a major metropolis? In New York City, it was nearly three decades ago, according to the Staten Island Advance.

Attention New Yorkers: Go to Moscow, and party like it was 1985. You won't even have to exercise.

Keep your back straight now:

Video is from Euronews via YouTube. Photo is a screen grab from the video.

NOTE: Photo caption updated at 9 a.m. PST Nov. 11 to identify the gymnast. Elena Zamolodchikova won two golds in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, one for the vault and one for floor exercises. - MH

More fitness perks:

And another novel idea in getting around town:

— By on November 11, 2013, 4:40 AM PST

Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure