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2019-09-25 04:57

Suomen Kuvalehti (Finland): Russian taxi market is gaining momentum, sleepy drivers are driving

Recent deal plans of the giant Yandex cause great irritation in other Internet companies and taxi ordering services.

In 2018, the number of accidents involving taxis in Moscow has increased by almost a quarter. This trend is also being monitored in other regions of Russia. The problem primarily affects the application "Yandex.Taxi", which is responsible for more than half of the Moscow taxi market.

"Yandex", which was initially one of the largest internet companies in Russia, is now trying to establish itself as a safe taxi company. "Yandex" has added a driver fatigue monitoring system. This technology has been working in test mode in St. Petersburg since the end of July. According to "Yandex", this system has been installed in thousands of cars.

The purpose of the innovation is to prevent drivers who look tired from taking new orders. A small device that is installed on the windshield tracks the movement of the driver's eyes, yawning and head position. If there are too many changes to indicate fatigue at some point, the device prevents the driver from taking new orders through the application.

The technology tracks a person's condition behind the wheel at 68 points on his face. The device was developed by the Russian company "VisionLabs" for the international market. The company is developing facial recognition technology primarily for the financial and retail sectors.

According to users, applications by taxi order work perfectly in Russia. However, the growth of popularity of applications and reduction of taxi ride costs forces drivers to work more, sometimes even at the expense of traffic safety.

Drivers usually take orders through several applications. Many drivers are not Russian. For example, drivers who come to Russia to earn money from Central Asia often work very hard to send money to their families back home.

The idea of "Yandex.Taxi", based on facial recognition system, appeared after a bill passed by the State Duma. In the future, the Duma wants to improve road safety and regulate the work of drivers at the legislative level. There is no information about forthcoming changes in the legislation yet.

Taxi ordering services are increasingly subordinate to "Yandex". Recently, the company announced the purchase of the main rival company - the "Luck" service.

It is difficult for "Yandex" to increase its market share in those regions where smartphones are not as widespread as in big cities. Most of the orders at the "Luck" service are carried out by phone.

With the purchase of "Luck" Yandex hopes to strengthen its position in the Russian provinces. "Luck" works in 123 cities.

In 2018, less than a third of all taxi orders were made in Russia through smartphone applications. The number of taxi orders via the Internet is expected to increase rapidly in the coming years. "Yandex.Taxi" and "Veset" expect to sign a contract by the end of 2019.

This deal has caused irritation in other Russian internet companies and taxi ordering services. "Gett, a competitor of Yandex.taxi, has already expressed its dissatisfaction with the deal, which will significantly strengthen Yandex.taxi's position in the market.

According to "Gett", the leadership of "Yandex" in the taxi market may have a negative impact on the working conditions of drivers - for example, their working day may increase significantly.

According to "Gett", "Yandex" may increase the cost of travel without raising salaries for drivers. Gett" representatives believe that it will be even harder for new companies to enter the market if "Yandex" becomes a clear leader in the taxi market.

For many years "Yandex" has been fighting for price level with the American "Uber" (Uber). "Yandex and Uber joined forces a few years ago. "Yandex is the main shareholder of the merger. Its market share now includes the Uber market share. "Uber exists as a separate application, but Yandex.Taxi is much stronger.

According to the Analytical Center under the Government of the Russian Federation, after the purchase of "Veset" Yandex will control a quarter of the taxi market of the huge country. According to other estimates, "Yandex" will get a much bigger share in percentage terms.

In "Yandex.Taxi" and "Lucky" there are hundreds of thousands of drivers. Many work through Yandex abroad. The service works not only in Russia, but also in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Georgia. Yango" taxi service works in Finland as well.

The complicated process of merging with "Uber" partially affected the fact that "Yandex.taxi" first made a profit only in the autumn of 2018.

The development prospects of Yandex are still good, as the demand for taxis is constantly growing in Russia. Recently, Yandex has expanded its range of services, including food delivery services.

"Yandex" has announced that it is thinking of offering its taxi services to the exchange. Already now the taxi makes up two thirds of all services of "Yandex".

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