Fact-check: Moscow metro allows free rides to commuters for 30 squats

Will 30 squats guarantee a free ride on the Moscow metro? This is what has been claimed in a message accompanying a video showing a man performing squats in front of a machine.

“At Moscow’s ( Russia ) metro rail station if you do 30 situps you get free train ticket. Citizen Health Plan by the Government.”, says the message which has gone viral on Facebook and Twitter. The duration of the video is 34 seconds.

WHAT IS THE TRUTH?

The claim is true, although it may be noted that it dates back to 2013. Alt News searched Google with the keywords ‘Moscow metro ticket squats’, and found several articles regarding the same, the earliest of which were of November 2013.

According to these reports, the initiative was part of a promotional campaign for the Winter Olympics which was held in Sochi, Russia in February 2014. Another stated objective was to encourage an active lifestyle among citizens and enthusiasts. Posted below is a promotional video of the same, uploaded in November 2013.

A machine with a special sensor was installed at the Vystavochnaya station in Moscow. Those who performed 30 squats within a span of 2 minutes were eligible for a free ticket on the subway. The service was, however operational only till December 3, 2013 according to a Forbes article.

A similar incentive-driven approach was introduced in Mexico City in 2015, where a ticket on a subway could be secured through as few as 10 squats. 30 motion sensing machines were installed for this purpose. Recently, Singapore too introduced the squats-for-tickets plan.

It may be reiterated that the aforementioned claim is correct- 30 squats did indeed guarantee a free ticket on the Moscow metro, albeit the news pertains to 2013, and the machine was installed at one station on the Moscow subway system. Also, the system was in place only till December 3, 2013.

Update: The article has been updated to mention that the squats-for-tickets scheme in the Moscow metro was operational only till December 3, 2013.

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