According to Riga municipal police spokeswoman Sanita Brakanska, this will improve safety in the entire Old Town area.
"The police officers currently working by the entrances will later go on patrol in Old Town, making it a safer place," Brakanska said. "They will not lose their jobs."
Brakanska also said that the new system will make it more difficult to enter Old Town illegally.
"We just hope that there won't be any false cards," she said. "The new electronic system will, hopefully, also prevent people from buying their way into Old Town."
It is planned that the new system will be fully operational by Oct. 1. All holders of Old Town passes will have them replaced throughout September. Larisa Kura-nova, Riga City Council Old Town pass committee secretary, said that this introduction of a new automated system for entering Old Town is a step toward introducing modern technologies in organizing traffic in Riga, as well as the country in whole.
"It means a transfer from settlement of payments in cash to non-cash payments," Kuranova said. "This system will make control over cash flows easier and more transparent."
The new system will cost taxpayers 92,000 lats ($151,000) to install. To enter Old Town used to require a City Council pass or paying in cash by the gates. It was possible to bring in your car or motorcycle for five lats per hour. Kuranova confirmed that all police personnel working in Old Town shall remain in service.
"They will be inspecting parking of vehicles within Old Town," Kuranova said. "One police officer will be stationed at every entry control point into Old Town."