The Russian taxi industry held a special conference on 27 and 28 November in Sochi. ‘Taxi 2018’ was dedicated to the World Cup Soccer which will be played in 2018 from 14 June to 15 July in 11 host cities and 12 stadiums throughout Russia.
Not only the role of the Russian taxi trade was discussed. As at every Russian taxi conference over the past years, the development of proper legislation for the industry was also point of discussion. Particularly as President Putin has ordered that this legislation – after years of delay – should be in place before March 2018. More than 300 attendees from 47 Russian regions also spoke about the insurance problems in the sector: few insurance companies are prepared to insure taxis and even sabotage attempts by taxi companies to insure taxicabs via their websites.
The problems with various apps (including the Yandex Taxi-Uber combination and Gett) were also subject of fiery discussion. The question which regularly pops up: ‘What exactly are the apps responsible for and to where exactly does the responsibility of the taxi companies and drivers differ from that of the apps?’
As far as the World Cup 2018 is concerned, the taxi companies want to set an example for World Championships elsewhere and are planning to offer the fans good transportation, preferably in a uniform way in all 11 cities (including WiFi in the taxis). Ideally, the taxi sector would also use the same rates in all cities, so that fans in every city find similar services and prices. Taxis will provide the connection between hotels and stadiums via various priority routes. In each city a number of accredited taxi companies has been given preference to offer this special service. They will be offering transportation with specially marked taxis from taxi ranks which are located near the stadiums to quickly transport the fans to the city centre after the games.
When asked why the taxi in Russia is still such an important part of the public transport sector, a representative from the Yakutsk district in eastern Siberia replied: “Who in winter, with temperatures of minus 45C in the city, would run out of his house to the bus stop, risking an encounter with a bear? If you can pay a little and want to be safe and warm, take a taxi.”
- ‘Taxi 2018’ in Sochi: ‘Russian taxi drivers want to score at World Cup 2018’