The echo of the French UBER fires reached the Russian Internet taxi services
Uber on Friday was forced to announce the suspension of a mobile application to search, call and pay for cheap taxis or private drivers of UberPOP in France amid a confrontation with traditional taxi drivers. The news of the strike of French taxi drivers, requiring a ban on Ubera’s activities in the country and, for greater clarity, reinforcing their wishes by beating up drivers and burning their cars, did not pass by the Habr site. Moreover, the author of the article expressed a bold idea that nothing threatens Russian Internet services, among which are primarily Yandex Taxi, RBTaxi and Intertos Taxi. After all, they accept only licensed drivers into their ranks.
However, the successes in the struggle of our “European partners” against Uber inspired the owners of traditional Russian taxi services. The result - in the Capital of Revolutions, St. Petersburg, another prohibitive initiative is arising for our State Duma. Let's try to figure out what it is about, what it is based on and how serious the threat poses to the convenient and cheap Internet service that is rapidly gaining popularity.
Information for reference:
According to the city transport committee of St. Peretburg, as of June 1, 2015, more than 5500 private entrepreneurs and 400 legal entities have permissions for the transport of taxi passengers, a total of 33,000 cars. Today, about 20-30% of orders go through the services of IT companies and this percentage is growing steadily.
It’s your fault that I want to eat
Non-profit partnership Petersburg Taxi published an open letter on its website to the governor of St. Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko. It is signed by partnership director Alexander Kholodov. The association includes the largest carriers of the city - “Taxi 6000000”, “Taxi 068”, “Taxi 063”, “7000000”, etc.
Taxi drivers complain that the triple tariffs - Uber, GetTaxi (now called Gett) and Yandex.Taxi - are comparable to the cost of travel by public transport (49-50 rubles), this violates the competition law, they say. The reason for accusing the services of violating antitrust laws was that for the convenience of passengers they subsidize “ultra-short” trips for small amounts. It is very convenient to drive a couple of bus stops to the metro in the morning in inclement weather for only 50 rubles. I don’t know how in St. Petersburg, but in Moscow before the advent of these services, the price tag began with three hundred rubles. At the same time, Yandex does not work at a loss, it simply increases the percentage of deductions in its favor due to travel over long distances. Interestingly, such cross-subsidization systems are widespread in Russia. The best example is subsidizing the price of “socially significant goods” in retail chains. However, for some reason they do not file an application with the prosecutor’s office and are not accused of violating antitrust laws.
Uber, Gett and Yandex.Taxi pay taxes only on interest received, and not on the amount of the order, says Petersburg Taxi. The worst accusation is that foreign companies that do not pay taxes in Russia in general, and in St. Petersburg in particular, receive income.
The silence of the lambs
The services themselves reject the accusations of taxi drivers. Yandex.Taxi reports that in St. Petersburg it does not charge a fee from taxi cabs and compensates drivers part of the cost of only the shortest trips. Such a system allows drivers to earn money and is very convenient for passengers, said a company representative. Michael Fisher. The head of Uber in St. Petersburg, claims that the company works only with legal entities and individual entrepreneurs (IP). According to him, in France and other countries, the UberPOP service raised claims of authorities where drivers can act as individuals without a license. In Russia, this service does not work.
Gettaxi Rus is an independent legal entity, not a branch or representative office of a foreign company and pays taxes in Russia, says Gett CEO Vitaly Krylov in Russia. According to him, the company only works with licensed carriers.
And who are the judges?
Taxi drivers should be redirected to the governor by federal officials, says Andrey Kibitov, a spokesman for Poltavchenko. According to him, the governor does not have authority to regulate the Internet and Internet commerce. The committee on transport does not have such authority, says a committee representative.
Regulation of Internet services for private carriage is a legal issue; accordingly, it is necessary to turn to the legislative branch of government.
Claims by a nonprofit partnership on the activities of Uber, Gett and Yandex.Taxi come down to a violation of tax and antitrust laws, they should be checked by the police and the antitrust service, not the governor, lawyers say.
Will Yandex roll into the asphalt?
However, it is not at all excluded that officials may make “a certain political decision under the influence of the lobby or local protests of classical taxi services who do not want to reduce their profits in competition with the new generation taxi services. The crusade of traditional taxi services recalls the senseless struggle of the Luddites. It is impossible to stop progress, the struggle against new technologies that save resources and make our lives more comfortable is doomed to failure.
When I watch attempts to cling to an elusive past, I see pictures from a possible near future - mass protests of office building owners against the spread of remote work and their demands to legally ban work at home and in cafes, motivated by references to the impossibility of monitoring working conditions. Think fiction?
PS Today received comments from the FAS.
The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) does not see any violations of the law in the activities of Internet applications for calling Uber, GetTaxi and Yandex.Taxi taxis, said Andrei Tsarikovsky, deputy department head. “I do not see a violation of antitrust laws. It is impossible to argue with benefit.
Reason prevailed? Something tells me that this is only the first round.
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What do you think will end the struggle with Internet taxi services in Russia?
- 47% Progress cannot be stopped. Traditional taxi drivers and bombers will soon die out as a class. 513
- 27.2% See above, but only for large cities. In the outback there is too little Internet penetration. 297
- 15.1% of Internet services will be “crushed” by additional fees and taxes, which will make their services more expensive than traditional taxis. Thus, a new balance will be felt. 165
- 10.6% Soviet people don’t take a taxi to the bakery! 116