The apps are having an impact on the revenue-earning potential of drivers across the city, whether or not they decide to use them. It's unlikely that the weekend strike will change the growing company's cost-cutting strategies.
Thousands of Moscow cab drivers began a protest against Uber Technologies Inc., Yandex NV and GetTaxi, saying their online ride-hailing services are pushing prices down.
As many as 4,000 drivers agreed to take part in a “quiet strike,” meaning they won’t accept customers through the online services from today through Sunday, said Alexei Smirnov, deputy chairman of Interregional Transportation Labor Union, by phone.
The union is accusing Yandex.Taxi, Uber and GetTaxi of dumping prices, Smirnov said. Their policies erode drivers’ incomes and leave independent taxi companies without funds to expand their business, he said.
The online services don’t own or operate their own cars in Moscow. Rather, taxi companies and drivers can choose to use them to attract customers.
The introduction of the online services has reduced drivers’ average daily revenue by about 30 percent, said Vladimir Ampleev, who has been driving a cab for almost a decade. Drivers need to work 16-hour shifts to make 30,000 rubles ($463) a month, he said.
Yandex’s lower tariffs are attracting new customers who didn’t previously use taxis for short trips because of high prices, said Vladimir Isaev, a spokesman for the company, which also runs Russia’s biggest Web-search engine. Benjamin Novick, a spokesman for Uber, declined to comment. Alena Balakireva, a GetTaxi spokeswoman, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
The online services led by Uber have roiled transportation markets worldwide by letting people hail rides from their smartphones. That has disrupted established taxi and limousine companies, which have responded with protests in many places where such services have been introduced. Uber has also upset regulators, who have sued or banned the company from California to Brazil.
To contact the reporter on this story: Ilya Khrennikov in Moscow at firstname.lastname@example.org To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at email@example.com Ville Heiskanen, Torrey Clark.
This article was written by Ilya Khrennikov from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
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Photo Credit: Traffic in Moscow, Russia. Sergey Norin / Flickr