Milan drivers brace for closing of Area B

Traffic block across Milan starts on 25 February.

As Milan prepares to apply Europe’s widest yet area of restricted road traffic next week, city hall has opened a row of 16 information desks in the Duomo station of the M1 red metro line.

Open from 08.30 to 15.30 daily, operators at the desks will provide information on every aspect of the “Area B”, the new limited traffic zone. Among the services offered is guidance on whether your vehicle is restricted or exempt.

The desks also help drivers apply for the block of 50 entrances per year available for almost all vehicles, and explain how to keep track via internet of how many have been used. They also provide guidance on rules, fees and exemptions for the central Area A, the original, much smaller city-centre restricted traffic zone which has been in force since 2013.

To help motorists familiarise with the new regulations, the first months will be under the sign of leniency. Transgressors will be sent a letter immediately on their first irregular entry to Area B, explaining the rules and inviting the driver to register for the 50 free entrances option.

Area B covers an area inhabited by some 1,400,000 milanesi, or almost 98 per cent of the city population.  All 187 road access points to the zone will eventually be covered by television cameras with licence-plate reading software, connected to databases of vehicle type, road tax payment, insurance and MoT inspection records; many cameras are already installed and operative.

For commuters needing to reach Milan from the surrounding towns, there are 11 car parks located next to urban transport stations around the rim of Area B.

The next phase in the plan to reduce pollution caused by motor traffic will be on 1 October, when diesel vehicles with Euro 4 class engines will be added to the forbidden list. Further restrictions will come into force atintervals, until by 2030 the city will be totally off limits to all diesel vehicles.

More detailed information (in Italian) is available on the dedicated Area B page of the city hall website.

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