Experts have discussed the issues of taxi services transportation market development in Russia

29 september 2014

The Analytical Center has hosted the roundtable “State and prospects of taxi services transportation in Russia”, in which experts have discussed the technological issues regarding the organization of taxi transport service for passengers in the Russian Federation and the implementation of the regional state control in this field.

Transportation of passengers with small vehicles, provide a high level of transport accessibility, help to reduce social tensions, provide opportunities for personal business and part-time work for a large number of Russians. At the same time, market participants recognize the increase in ratio of illegal activity in this area. At the moment, no more than one third of vehicles engaged in the transportation of passengers in small vehicles on a commercial basis are being legalized in Russia.

“The purpose of the round table is to identify the reasons hampering the development of a civilized market of taxi services in Russia”, - said the Head of the Directorate for Transport Economics of the Analytical Center Mikhail Nizov, opening the event. According to him, despite the fact that a number of provisions of federal law governing the activities of the taxi services have entered into force in 2012, and the adoption of laws on taxi services by several subjects of the Russian Federation, the creation of a comfortable and safe taxi services system for the public cannot be achieved because there is no adequate legal regulation system in this area. “Providing legal taxi services became unprofitable in comparison with the conventional transportation with small vehicles which organization is not subject to such high standards”, - said the expert, adding that it is necessary to develop new approaches to the development of the taxi services transportation market, taking into account the international experience and Russian developments in the field of information technologies and intelligent transport systems.

Deputy Head of the Department of Transport and Road Infrastructure Development of the city of Moscow Dmitry Pronin believes that today illegal taxi services are given little consideration not only in Moscow but also in the regions of the Russian Federation. “The measures provided by the current legislation allow competent authorities to easily verify a legal taxi driver, but it is almost impossible to catch an illegal one, - he said. - We are making efforts of course, but without necessary legal provisions, without strengthening measures is difficult to change the situation in this field”. Mr. Pronin also noted that currently the profession of “taxi driver” does not exist. “The profession of taxi driver needs to be revitalized, - he said. - We need to add it to the registries and the federal laws”. According to him, the industry hasn’t been regulated by anyone for twenty years, there was no responsible authority. Thus, in 1991 in Moscow, there were 19 government-owned taxi parks but now everything is in the hands of private owners, who are working without a coherent control scheme for this sector.

During the event, experts noted that a significant proportion of illegal transportations in Russia are being organized by federal traffic control services that work simultaneously in 50-80 cities within the same call-centers. From a legal point of view, they are keeping a “log book for orders executed by the owner of the small taxi vehicle” for 15-20% of the orders value. They have little interest in the quality of service, qualifications, the legality of those who offer their services, as they are not responsible for any negative consequences, which is unacceptable in areas related to human safety. Dmitry Pronin said that 15 dispatchers that provide such services can be identified in Moscow. “We have decided to sign an agreement with them - said the official. - After signing the agreement, dispatch service must ensure that they will not provide their services to illegal carriers, that they will report routes coordinates for certain vehicles and provide analytical reporting”. Only 3 companies responded to this offer. Only they are ready to work within the legal framework and lead a qualitative business, said Mr. Pronin.

The roundtable participants have also raised issues of quotas and tariffs. Some experts believe that in regions and subjects of the Russian Federation, quotas are not needed, but they are necessary in Moscow. Others believe that the country needs a single tariff system. Among other problems, experts have identified the need to introduce a professional standard for training of drivers and the introduction of a voluntary certification.