Roadside services are operating along main roads

More roadside services for Belarus, with wider range of services
By Maxim Veselovsky

Supersized household refrigerators are being sold in a fuelling station shop on the Mogilev highway (near Smolevichi). It leaves a lasting impression on drivers dropping in. Of course, few of us are likely to come away with kitchen appliances after filling up with fuel but, certainly, such shops are selling a wider range of goods than ever. Fuelling stations also often offer small repairs and catering facilities.

Belarus’ Prime Minister, Mikhail Myasnikovich, believes that roadside services need to offer a greatly expanded range of facilities. A recent session of the Council of Ministers’ Presidium discussed and approved a draft governmental regulation on this very sphere, envisaging comprehensive roadside facilities.

The issue of roadside services was raised by the President two years ago, leading to the Government’s action plan. Powerful economic stimulus was provided for investors, via a Presidential Decree making them exempt from paying land tax and rental for land lots during design and construction, and for the first two years after launch.

This proved effective but are drivers content that they now have what they need? Of course, the 2014 IIHF World Championship lies ahead, bringing vast amounts of traffic through Belarus for the Ice Hockey tournament.

According to the PM, the ideology of developing roadside services has now been elaborated. “We need to develop approaches relating to existing facilities and to adopt corresponding decisions,” he emphasises. As the Deputy PM, Anatoly Kalinin, adds, over the last three years, more than 80 fuelling stations have opened, alongside 120 food service areas, 20 hotels and secure parking areas, 15 technical maintenance stations and 10 car washes: all located along major Belarusian highways.

Today, fuelling stations are found every 47km, on average, on major Belarusian roads, and food service areas every 35km: meeting recommended international norms. However, it’s necessary to enhance the quality of such services.
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