How the taxi market in Novosibirsk is being rebuilt and what awaits passengers

Novosibirsk taxi drivers talked about their real earnings. Taxi drivers believe aggregators will start cutting prices to attract even more customers

Taxi operations are gradually being rebuilt in Novosibirsk – changes are taking place both at the federal level (Yandex.Taxi announced the purchase of part of Lucky’s assets) and at the local level (the cost of travel has increased greatly due to snowfalls, traffic jams and large-scale construction). Drivers worry that soon they may be left without a job or a normal income – already now their earnings have dropped dramatically.

For example, taxi driver Andrei Pinchuk earns a maximum of 1,000 rubles for work from six in the morning until late at night, which is 26 thousand a month, while he needs to pay a monthly loan of 40 thousand for the car he works on.

Taxi drivers believe that things will get worse and they will have to look for a new job. What to expect for drivers and passengers – we spoke with aggregators, experts and taxis.

$ 178 Million Deal

In early February, Yandex.Taxi announced the purchase of part of the assets of Lucky.

– The group of companies “Yandex.Taxi” buys call centers and business on the order of cargo transportation of the group of companies “Lucky”. Drivers will be asked to connect to the Yandex.Pro platform, the press service of the company said at the time.

The deal was valued at $ 178 million. The integration is promised to be completed in the second quarter of 2021.

In the past, the FAS has already refused Yandex.Taxi to purchase Lucky.

– Unlike the agreement between Yandex.Taxi and Lucky, announced in July 2019, the new deal implies the acquisition of only part of Lucky’s assets, operates in a limited number of regions and does not apply to software, Yandex explains. .Taxi”.

But the Federal Antimonopoly Service showed interest in the deal this time:

– FAS Russia will check the information on the purchase by Yandex.Taxi of part of the assets of the Lucky Group for compliance with the requirements of antimonopoly legislation and the need for its approval with the department.

What will change for passengers and taxi drivers (Yandex.Taxi version)

– For “Lucky” users who call the car by phone, nothing will change, but application users will be prompted to use the “Yandex.Go” application. The switchover schedule will be announced later. As a result of the integration, the quality of services will improve, and all trips through the system will be insured in the event of an accident in the amount of up to 2 million rubles, Yandex.Taxi promises.

The company is not worried about the FAS check – we can assume that the integration will take place:

– We are ready to provide all the necessary information at the request of the department. The book value of Lucky’s assets falls within the range that does not require a purchase agreement under Russian law.

For drivers, they say in Yandex.Taxi, conditions will only get better:

– We expect that as a result of the transaction, the total number of cars on the line and the density of orders will increase, the average distance to the client, the travel time to him and, accordingly, the idle mileage will decrease. As a result of the transaction and the transfer of drivers to a single platform, we expect an increase in the most important indicator for a driver – his income per hour of work. In addition, we plan to actively develop logistics in the regions, which, on the one hand, will allow drivers to increase their income through diversification, and users will have access to express delivery.

Reaction “Citymobil” and “Maxim”

Other companies still prefer to remain silent and not comment on the merger of two large aggregators in any way. Citymobil and Lucky itself decided not to answer the questions of the NGS.

Taxi service Maxim believes that it is too early to talk about the implications of the deal for the market:

– It is premature to discuss this. FAS Russia will check the information for compliance with the requirements of antimonopoly legislation and the need for its approval with the department. Previously, the antimonopoly service did not give consent to the deal, the press service of the company says.

Raising prices and preparing for integration

Since the end of January 2021, residents of Novosibirsk have noticed an increase in taxi prices. But the main reasons for the services and the drivers themselves are not the aggregators’ deal, but the conditions on the long-suffering roads of Novosibirsk. They blame the price increase on poor snow removal, constant traffic jams and large construction projects that are now deployed in the city (bridge and stadium).

In early February, the commercial clients of “Lucky” received a letter that the aggregator “Yandex.Taxi” had purchased the call centers “Lucky”.

“This will allow us to combine user bases, as well as knowledge and experience,” says the letter, which is at the disposal of the editorial office.

Also, the mailing went to the drivers “Lucky”.

What are taxi drivers afraid of?

Many drivers reacted strongly to the news of the deal. They assume that their working conditions will worsen: in Lucky, they say, there were many old cars, while Yandex.Taxi gives priority to new cars.

– We are waiting for what will be decided with “Lucky”. Recently there were notifications that commercial companies have already switched to the Yandex system. People have old cars, Yandex has a priority for new cars. Some people will simply be left without work, others will sell their old cars and take out loans to buy new ones. The price of the trip is already too low, it will be even lower. It only rises when demand is high. It is generally unprofitable to work during the day now. Only in the morning and in the evening, – says the taxi driver Pavel.

Recent increases in prices due to poor road conditions have affected demand, with fewer people calling for taxis. For example, Pavel now fulfills 20–25 orders, and earlier he managed to make 30–35 trips per work shift. If prices fall and demand does not recover, then taxi drivers will remain in dire straits. And they are sure: the prices for passengers will definitely fall.

– We believe that the prices for travel will come down. Yandex is expanding its passenger traffic for itself and will take exactly this. They don’t care about the amount of the trip, they need a passenger flow. Because they have a lot of services. The average price of a trip during the day is 100–150 rubles. Much less? But I suppose that it will decrease by another 20-30 rubles, – the taxi driver Ruslan worries.

He says that some drivers are already quitting taxis, which could also affect the price of travel. Earlier, the source of the NGS spoke about the shortage of taxi drivers, however, he connected this with the coronavirus and the outflow of migrants who left for their homeland before the pandemic, and then could not return to Russia due to closed borders.

– There are fewer cars on the line. And the price for their rent has already increased. Now they cost 1,800-2,000 rubles. And earlier it was possible to find options in the range of 1000-1500 rubles (taxi drivers rent cars and pay a “monthly fee” every day. – Editor’s note), says Ruslan. – I believe that a lot of people will be left without work. Hundreds of people. Such a program was “lucky” that it was possible to select orders without losses and punishments from the aggregator. People worked for money, albeit sometimes cheaper than others. And now there will be coercion, like everyone else. What order will be assigned – that one you will have to fulfill.

His colleague Maksim, who has been working for “Lucky” (formerly “Leader”) for 12 years, confirms:

– Our system works differently. Why shouldn’t I know the cost of the trip and the destination where I am going? And in Yandex, this is not the case, you will find out the price only during the trip. Maybe it is completely underestimated. Yandex makes discounts at the expense of the driver. And in “Lucky” everything is visible and there was no such thing that the driver was punished for refusing to order.

Maxim himself plans to leave this area, but says that Novosibirsk will not be left without taxi drivers: “Someone has no choice and nowhere to go, so he will stay to work.”

Expert opinion

Mikhail Mezentsev, the official representative of the Federation of Russian Car Owners in Novosibirsk, says that what is happening on the taxi market is a natural process.

– Those people who used a taxi 10-15 years ago remember very well that then a taxi was much more expensive. Now the amounts are being brought up to the level that was in 2006-2008. The drop in prices was due to aggregators – they dropped them, and private taxi companies suffered serious losses. How much can a person earn at the current cost? He has to work 12 hours a day to support his family. As a result, this leads to the fact that there is discontent among the drivers, – says Mikhail Mezentsev.

Taxi demand is also much higher now than it used to be.

– When a trip with a transfer by bus and metro will cost 50 rubles, and you will pay 100 rubles for a taxi, it is understandable why so many people use a taxi. Demand creates supply, which is why a lot of aggregators have appeared on the market. Everything always clings to one another. Excise taxes and fuel are raised every six months, and there is a steady increase in food products. If the driver earns at the same level as a year or two ago, then there will simply not be enough money for food. It is quite logical that the cost of a taxi should rise, the expert is convinced. – It is clear that the aggregator wants to earn more – this is the desire of any businessman. The organization is not charitable, therefore it was created to make a profit. When the state does not regulate relations, then business will try to earn as much as possible. The less he will pay the performer, the more will remain for him. And as long as these relationships are not regulated by anything, then everything will be in free float.

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