Russia: Refreshing freebies to keep metro users cool

Commuters alighting from a Moscow metro train Image copyright EPA
Image caption Moscow's underground carries millions of people every day and the older carriages are not air-conditioned

Staying cool in the heat of an urban summer can be tricky, but Moscow's metro users can now freshen up with free water and wet wipes.

Officials say that on hot days they'll be handing out more than 300,000 bottles of water and 200,000 cooling hand wipes to help the capital's commuters stay comfortable. They'll also be giving out 11,000 hand-held fans, a statement on the metro's official website says. It doesn't specify how hot it must be for the items to be made available. Russia has endured regular summer heatwaves in recent years. In 2010, Moscow saw temperatures rise to 40C with heavy smog, and other parts of the country experienced wildfires.

Metro officials are also trying to cool down station buildings by leaving the doors open overnight while trains aren't running. For the past week, 11 stations have tested out the plan, and seen the temperature drop by 5C to 7C compared to nights when the station doors were shut, the statement says. Moscow's underground is one of the busiest in the world, with 196 stations serving more than seven million passengers per day. The network's older trains rely on windows for ventilation, although they are gradually being replaced by newer, air-conditioned carriages.

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