Sitting in traffic when you’re late for a meeting is frustrating for anyone, but entrepreneurial ambulance drivers are getting proactive about the problem.
Police in Moscow have started carrying out random checks on ambulances after advertisements appeared online for “ambulance-taxis”, charging upwards of 6000 rubles ($NZ225) an hour.
Some emergency vehicles have reportedly been fitted with plush interiors and are being rented out to VIP commuters looking to craftily dodge the city's appalling traffic jams.
The vehicles are said to use their sirens to scatter traffic and deliver harried businessman to meetings on time.
A law enforcement source told Russian newspaper Izvestiya that one such vehicle had already been identified. "During a patrol, a medical car was stopped because it was breaking traffic rules," the source said. "The driver appeared strange, and did not resemble an ambulance driver at all. Police officers opened the automobile to check it and saw that the interior was fitted out like a high-class limousine with comfortable seats for transporting VIP passengers," the official said.
Inside the ambulance they found "not medical personnel but some people in civilian clothes who refused to identify themselves", the source said.
Moscow's boulevards and ring roads are often at a standstill because of badly parked cars and a lack of restrictions on driving in the city centre.
The foul-ups are compounded when police block roads for official corteges such as that of Vladimir Putin, who causes gridlock when travelling to and from the Kremlin in his Mercedes Pullman.
In October, Mr Putin's spokesman said the president would spend more time working at his home, the Novo-Ogarevo estate to the west of the city, to avoid being blamed for bottlenecks.