Uber buckles to Moscow’s demands

Uber, the taxi service, has signed a collaboration agreement with the Moscow authorities. As part of the agreement, the company will have to part ways with unlicensed taxi drivers – and, allegedly, to share driver and passenger data with the local government.

The RBC news agency reports that Uber, the world’s largest mobile taxi-ordering service, was given 90 days by the Moscow transportation department to make sure its registered drivers are licensed by the state. Both the department and Uber’s press service confirmed the signing of the agreement.

The collaboration agreement has two main provisions. One is that Uber agrees to work only with licensed taxi drivers who have a state permit to drive a taxicab.

This differs from Uber’s policy in the United States, for instance, where the company offers an alternative to hard-to-get and expensive taxicab licences, allowing ordinary drivers to earn cash by offering their transportation services through the Uber app.

Because of this lenience, Uber’s work is banned in several other countries that impose stricter regulations on the taxicab market and insist that using unlicensed drivers is unsafe and illegal.

The Russian capital’s authorities insisted that Uber sign an agreement with them in 2015, but the company kept asking for extra time to hold consultations with its top management in San Francisco. In February this year, the Moscow transportation department even threatened to sue Uber and ban it from working in Moscow if it failed to deal with the licence requirements. RBC’s sources also claim some of Uber’s top managers visited Moscow for negotiations with local authorities and demanded access to the state interior ministry databases to check for the drivers’ criminal records. This demand got no sympathy from the city’s transportation department, whose officials claimed such information was outside their reach.

Beyond only working with “legal” drivers, the agreement obliges Uber to share their car movement data with the city’s transportation authorities.

The data on Uber cars and their movements about town is supposed to be passed on to the Moscow city government’s traffic organisation centre, which the transportation officials believe will improve the work of the city’s new intelligent transportation system, which pools data from the municipal transportation networks and monitors traffic in real time.

It uses a combination of methods to monitor and aggregate traffic data, including GPS monitoring systems, a CCTV network for recording traffic violations, parking cameras, tools regulating street-crossing lights, and a networked alerts system for drivers and passengers.

Uber’s main competitors in the Russian market, Yandex.Taxi and Gett, have already signed collaboration agreements with state agencies (Yandex.Taxi signed in 2014, and Gett in January this year), and both now employ only licensed drivers and share their ride data with the Moscow transportation department.

Uber works in 400 cities in 68 countries around the world. In Russia, the service is available in eight cities, but Uber’s VP Ryan Graves told RBC that the company plans to be operating in 17 Russian cities by the end of this year.

Uber, dubbed the most expensive start-up in the world, counts several Russian businessmen among its investors: Ziyavudin Magomedov (owner of Summa group), Alisher Usmanov (through his company USM Holdings) and Mikhail Friedman, whose LetterOne investment fund invested $200-million in the service. – www.globalvoices.org

Advertisting

Mabuza’s ‘distant relative’ scored big

Eskom’s woes are often because of boiler problems at its power plants. R50-billion has been set aside to fix them, but some of the contracts are going to questionable entities

ANC faction gunning for Gordhan

The ambush will take place at an NEC meeting about Eskom. But the real target is Cyril Ramaphosa

Despite tweet, Zuma keeps silent about providing his taxpayer information

The Public Protector has still not received confirmation from former president Jacob Zuma that she may access his tax records —...

Ahead of WEF, Mboweni will have to assure investors that...

The finance minister says despite the difficult fiscal environment, structural reforms are under way to put SA on a new growth path
Advertising

Press Releases

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Is your tertiary institution is accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Is your tertiary institution accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

VUT chancellor, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, dies

The university conferred the degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa on Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi for his outstanding leadership contributions to maths and science education development.

Innovate4AMR now in second year

SA's Team pill-Alert aims to tackle antimicrobial resistance by implementing their strategic intervention that ensures patients comply with treatment.

Medical students present solution in Geneva

Kapil Narain and Mohamed Hoosen Suleman were selected to present their strategic intervention to tackle antimicrobial resistance to an international panel of experts.