Almost no personnel required
By Veronica Kovaleva
Deciding to top up on fuel on my way to Brest, I turned into a fuelling station in the suburbs of Bereza town. By force of habit, I took out my money and went to try and find an operator window to prepay — to no avail. There were no signs of life anywhere and I wondered whether there was no more petrol or if the station was undergoing repairs. I was about to leave when I saw two other vehicles pull up and the drivers begin fuelling themselves. Being automated, no personnel are required at all. Customers simple pay for fuel with cash through a payment terminal or use their electronic or bank card. If questions arise, you can contact the nearest fuelling station via an intercom.
“It’s very convenient, as people aren’t distracted by visiting a shop or having long conversations,” believes Alexander Strizh, a driver from Bereza, who showed me how to use the new set up. He admits that he too made the same mistake initially.
Vasily Kozodoy, Director of Belorusneft-Brestoblnefteprodukt, tells me how the automated station came to appear in Bereza, “A container fuelling station was situated here and needed reconstruction, so we decided to construct an automated fuelling station on the site.”
It is the first of its kind in the Brest Region and has brought double savings, needing no money spent on construction or maintenance. Some might worry that vandals could break something but there is a full surveillance system to deter such actions.
Mr. Kozodoy explains, “The fuelling process is controlled by the nearest fuelling station via the surveillance system, with customers able to speak to employees there via the intercom. Moreover, everything is insured.”
A similar station is to open in the Baranovichi District within a few months, with others planned for the Kamenets and Malorita districts.
Brest residents aren’t reinventing the wheel, as similar services are common across Europe and Russia, built along roads where traffic is sparse or where space is restricted (a small urban corner is all that’s needed for the installation of the latest fuelling station). The Brest Region is to gain several, replacing the old, out of date truck fuelling stations. One in the Gomel Region even uses solar power to generate its own electricity.
Fuelling stations are part of roadside services in Belarus, offering a range of other facilities: car repair and wash, alongside shops and cafes. Recently, the country’s first dispenser panel selling reagents to clean diesel engine exhausts opened at a fuelling station in Fedkovichi, near Brest — near the toll booth along the Brest-Moscow international motorway. Soon, a fuelling station with a fast food hall is to appear in Brest, while a cafe offering national cuisine is to be built by Belorusneft-Brestoblnefteprodukt, in the Kamenets District, near the Peschatka border crossing point.