Cars in Belgrade

They’re a major problem. They are clogging up the streets of a city that is one of the oldest in Europe and was never really designed to handle cars. Even the Communists didn’t set up the place for a mass of two million people to be driving around on a daily basis. They are also polluting. It seems that the vast majority of cars come in to the Belgrade from the used markets of Europe. This does not translate in to great prices though as a car that should be $1,500 in the US, is about $3,000 there. So, a great many cars there are really beat, driving around and a great many of these are not in such good running order. The worst polluting car offenders seem to be the taxi drivers, but they are another article.
So, you end up with all this pollution belching out from all these cars and really smothering what is actually quite a nice city under all of this. Then you toss in the fact that it gets quite hot during the summer. In the Bay Area, we’d call a “Spare the Air Day” but here, this doesn’t happen. I think that it’s largely in part to their public transportation system is still being rebuilt after the series of bombings they experienced through the 1990’s and there is no Metro, just a lot of buses (that also pollute) and some trams. So, when the weather gets hot, you see this black cloud descend on the hapless city.
Then there are the “Roma Wagons” as I call them. For those who don’t know, the Roma are something of a nomadic people who don’t really have a country of their own and are these sidelined minorities living on the outskirts of many European towns. They have no money and live in shanty villages. But, they still need to get around and have created these rather unique “cars” for themselves which are a small wagon with an engine bolted on to the front of what is just a simple frame with no body. I really wish I could have gotten a picture, but they come out of nowhere and fly around on these things, making them elusive. Dangerous as hell, I’m sure.
Lastly, there is the Yugo. I was asked if any of these are still around in Belgrade to which I laughed, because about every second car seems to be one. They are everywhere and are still being used in great numbers. A lot like Cuba where people are driving Chevy’s from the 1950’s due to trade sanctions, people in Serbia experienced heavy sanctions for about 10 years and so these silly Yugos are still floating around, being driven as screamingly fast as they can.
Cars in Belgrade