You could say that Moscow is crippled by bad traffic, but that wouldn’t capture the scale of the problem. Traffic jams routinely last four or five hours. Twenty percent of the city’s residents spend at least three hours a day in gridlock. Viktor Osipkov, the author of a blog about traffic in Moscow, recently told a Russian newspaper that the drive home on Friday has grown so bad that he and his family “leave work on Thursday and return on Saturday.”
Facing the world’s worst bottlenecks, some Muscovites are trying another workaround. Instead of leaving the office early, they are taking their offices on the road, in a new breed of minibus whose interior looks like a boat cabin crossed with a boardroom. In these vehicles, they can hold meetings and join videoconferences while moving slowly—very slowly—across the city.
Brabus, a German company that specializes in aftermarket improvements to luxury vehicles (increasing the horsepower on your Maybach, say), started offering “business conversions” of vans and minibuses several years ago, having sensed a sales opportunity. “The traffic in all capitals of the world is increasing,” says Sven Gramm, the head of public relations and advertising at Brabus. “People could use the time to work.”