Riding ambulances to skip Tehran's chaotic traffic has become trendy among the celebrity and wealthy Iranians, the head of the private ambulance services of the Islamic Republic admitted on Tuesday, August 20.
"Police forces in Tehran are so busy that they have not been able to cooperate for ending the illegal trend," Dr. Mojtaba Lohrasbi told the state-run Iran Students News Agency (ISNA).
As in other countries across the world, private ambulances in Iran run under strict regulations, including, "no ambulance is allowed to travel without specific and dated medical assignments or without carrying sick and injured passengers."
According to Lohrasbi, some of the famous movie stars and private tutors use ambulances to commute in Tehran.
"However, riding ambulances for sidestepping traffic jams in Tehran is not limited to these two groups," Lohrasbi reminded.
There are already regulations to prevent the illegal use of ambulances, Lohrasbi acknowledged but he stopped short of explaining why code had not been implemented, so far.
Meanwhile, Lohrasbi has insisted that the phenomenon is not as grave as some present it.
There have been many local news reports recently on ambulance illegally used for private purposes.
Private tutors, who are highly paid to prepare students for the annual competitive tests or the national university entrance examinations, have been singled out in recent days as the primary users of private ambulances to commute between their classes in different locations in Tehran. The fare paid by these tutors for private ambulances is quite meager compared with high fees they charge families of students.
Tehran's Prosecutor-General has issued an order to end the violation, Lohrasbi told ISNA, adding, "But since Tehran's police forces are extensively busy, they have not yet been able to cooperate with us in halting all ambulances that violate the regulations."