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New Internet Service Makes It Easier to Get a Ride

Vehicles in inTaxi's fleet

A startup company is offering a quick and clean taxi service in Moscow, where pickup is often slow and quality inconsistent.

InTaxi is a website and application that people can use to order cabs straight from their smartphones.

It looks a bit like the Uber service in the United States, which launched in June 2010 to connect customers with drivers of luxury vehicles for hire.

But Stanislav Leontenko, one of inTaxi's two owners, insisted Tuesday that the Russian company developed the idea on its own.

"When we were starting, there was nothing to look at," Leontenko said in a presentation to a group of reporters.

InTaxi began operating in September, said the 23-year-old recent graduate of the Higher School of Economics, a state university.

Taxicab companies that are signed up for the service get an alert whenever an inTaxi user types a request for a ride, either on the website or through the application that works with iPhones and Android-based phones.

The companies respond with proposals of price and pickup time, leaving the choice to the customer. There are also passenger ratings of the companies to help.

Customers have completed more than 100,000 rides since the start of the service, Leontenko said.

For now, the service is exclusively in Russian, but its English incarnation is coming in August, or even sooner, Leontenko said.

Availability in English is one of the conditions that a possible major outside investor is asking for, he said.

InTaxi derives its revenue from a commission the taxicab companies pay. It covers 300 companies, mostly in Moscow, but also in St. Petersburg and 38 more cities.

The venture's other partner is Leontenko's stepbrother, long-time businessman Sergei Filonov.

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