Part of the annual international ‘Transport of Siberia’-conference in Novosibirsk, Siberia (May 26-27) was the 3rd ‘International Conference Modern Taxi.’ At the brand-new Expo Centre nearly a 150 taxi operators, association representatives, various government officials, regulators, IT-specialists and experts from different countries (Belgium and Finland) discussed the good and the bad in the dilapidated Russian taxi trade.
The input of the various local, regional and national governments, plus the great number of taxi associations was obvious in the extremely spirited discussion which took up the whole afternoon. Regulators, consumers, taxi operators and app-representatives (in this case only Yandex, as Uber, Gett and other local Russian apps had declined to come) each defended a corner of the room with the moderation in the hands of a State Duma (parliament) representative and a locally well-known TV-presenter.
Given the fact that Russia has a federal state law governing the taxi industry, improving the industry shouldn’t be a problem. Yet, legal objections have halted local and regional initiatives when it comes to the safety and quality of taxi services, the development of innovative services, the use of environmentally-friendly vehicles and the growth of a well-governed and properly organised (legal) industry.
Conference-organiser and Public Council-chair Irina Zaripova, representing the taxi companies of Novosibirsk, Tula, Tver, Rostov, Tomsk, Vladivostok and Smolensk and working on legalisation of the taxi business in the regions, underlined that “according to a government study, the share of illegal taxi drivers in Russia is at least 26%, and in some regions up to 50-60% of the market. We are all faced with the challenge of illegal taxis. We want to contribute to the development of a ‘civilized’ taxi service and improve the level of service in our regions. Moscow and St. Petersburg, where in the last few years the taxi market has literally been transformed, stand out as shining examples.”
- Russian taxi companies (and their apps) are some of the biggest billboard-advertisers.