Tag Archives: Ridesharing
SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese firms FAW Group, Dongfeng Automobile and Chongqing Changan Automobile have set up a venture to establish a ride-sharing platform, Changan said on Saturday, creating the kind of service pioneered by Uber.
“The three major car companies have joined forces to enter the field of shared travel, which provides an opportunity to transform traditional car enterprises,” a notice posted by Changan on its Wechat social media account said.
The new venture, called T3 Mobile Travel Services, would introduce partners from other industries to build the service and seek to make use of the development of driverless cars to offer safer and more efficient travel services to customers.
The three firms signed a cooperation agreement in December.
China’s ride sharing market is now dominated by Didi Chuxing, which is valued at $ 50 billion and counts Japan’s SoftBank Group as one of its major investors.
Reporting by David Stanway
ST PETERSBURG (Reuters) – Russia has overtaken France as the biggest market for French ride-sharing startup BlaBlaCar, a growth driven by long distances between Russian cities and a culture of giving lifts to strangers, the company’s co-founder and CEO told Reuters.
Nicolas Brusson said the unlisted company, which entered the Russian market four years ago, plans to invest 10 million euros in Russia next year, more than BlaBlaCar’s total investments over the past three to four years.
“We are talking about 15 million members in Russian which means that more than one Russian of ten is already signed in BlaBlaCar. We are speaking about over 3 million Russians that are transported by BlaBlaCar every month,” he said.
BlaBlaCar’s app works by matching passengers with drivers who have spare space in their vehicle and are heading to the same destination.
The company, founded in Paris in 2006, describes itself as the world’s largest carpooling community. It has two models of making money in Europe, taking a service fee from passengers for every journey or allowing the use of its app under subscription.
Brusson said the first reason for the firm’s success in Russia was cultural.
He said it had to work hard in Europe to persuade customers BlaBlaCar was a safe service. “In Russia people are more used to sharing and got the features of the service faster,” he said.
Before ride-sharing services like Uber came to Russia, it was normal for citizens to flag down a private car in the street, and share the ride, for a modest fee. The practice grew out of the fact that car ownership was not widespread, while taxis were heavily regulated and expensive.
Brusson said the second reason BlaBlaCar did well in Russia “is the size of the country, the shape of the country. It’s a kind of perfect for long distance cooperation because of big population, lots of big cities we can help connect.”
Russian economic growth is slowly recovering after two years of recession, but is also under pressure from U.S. sanctions imposed in April on Russian businessmen and big companies.
Brusson said those factors might play to BlaBlaCar’s strengths. “People are going to be more cost-conscious so people will choose services like ours because people can save money and drive cheaper,” he said.
BlaBlaCar is ramping up investment in the Russian market even though its operations in Russia, unlike in European Union markets, are not yet monetized, passengers in Russia pay for their journeys in cash directly to drivers not to the service.
Brusson saw Russia as a very strong financial contributor for BlaBlaCar in terms of four to five years.
“Next year we will invest as much as we’ve done in the last 3-4 years. Because the activity is just doubling year on year, and there is a real need we can help address, so it leads us to invest,” he said.
Reporting by Polina Nikolskaya; Editing by David Evans
CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt’s parliament passed a law on Monday regulating ride-sharing apps Uber and Careem, potentially ending a lawsuit that could shut them down in one of their biggest markets but imposing new fees and data sharing requirements.
Legalising the increasingly popular ride-sharing services became urgent in March when an Egyptian court ordered their suspension after a group of taxi drivers filed a suit, arguing they were illegally using private cars as taxis.
Another court last month stayed that ruling, allowing U.S.-based Uber and its Dubai-based competitor Careem to continue operating while the case is appealed. A higher court is expected to hear the appeal later this week.
Uber has faced regulatory and legal setbacks around the world amid opposition from traditional taxi services. It has been forced to quit several countries, such as Denmark and Hungary.
Uber has said Egypt is its largest market in the Middle East, with 157,000 drivers in 2017 and 4 million users since its launch there in 2014.
The new law stipulates that ride-sharing companies obtain five-year renewable licences for a fee of 30 million Egyptian pounds ($ 1.71 million) and that drivers pay annual fees to obtain special licences to work with the company.
“This is a major step forward for the ride-sharing industry as Egypt becomes one of the first countries in the Middle East to pass progressive regulations,” Uber said in a statement.
“We will continue working with the prime minister and the cabinet in the coming months as the law is finalised, and look forward to continuing to serve the millions of Egyptian riders and drivers that rely on Uber.”
The law also requires the companies to retain user data for 180 days and share it with authorities “on request” and “according to the law,” according to a copy of the law reviewed by Reuters.
An earlier draft of the bill had called for real-time data sharing by the companies, but that prompted some opposition in parliament due to privacy concerns.
The law must now be ratified by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Uber said last year it was committed to Egypt despite challenges presented by sweeping economic reforms and record inflation. In October, Uber announced a $ 20 million investment in its new support center in Cairo.
It has had to make deals with local car dealerships to provide its drivers with affordable vehicles and adjust its ride prices to ensure its workers were not hit too hard by inflation.
($ 1 = 17.5900 Egyptian pounds)
Reporting by Nashaat Hamdi, Mahmoud Mourad, and Eric Knecht; Editing by Mark Potter