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Russian Taxi Firms Lobby for Restrictions on Internet Services

Uber, Yandex and GetTaxi have denied that they are breaking any laws and contend that increased competition is healthy for Russia's multibillion-dollar taxi market.

Russian taxi companies are seeking the imposition of restrictions on Internet-based taxi providers such as Uber, the Kommersant newspaper reported Monday.

Established firms contend that Internet-based dispatchers are deliberately undercutting prices and operating illegally with impunity, according to Kommersant.

“Aggregators do not have the same costs as we do: they don't conduct medical examinations of their staff, provide training or renew their fleets,” Kommersant quoted Felix Margaryan, head of New Yellow Taxi firm, as saying during a recent discussion in the Public Chamber, a state consultancy institution.

Like taxi firms in other countries, Russian companies have seen their market share and profits eroded by competition from Internet-based operators including Uber, Yandex Taxi and GetTaxi.

Uber set up a representative office in Russia in 2013.

Both the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service and the Public Chamber have received requests from drivers' organizations to look into whether the major Internet-based taxi providers violate any laws, according to Kommersant. Industry lobby groups have also appealed to Russian prosecutors to check the legality of their rivals' operations.

Uber, Yandex and GetTaxi have denied that they are breaking any laws and contend that increased competition is healthy for Russia's multibillion-dollar taxi market.

Earlier this month, taxi drivers in St. Petersburg wrote an open letter to Governor Georgy Poltavchenko urging him to ban Uber, GetTaxi and Yandex Taxi because of a “critical" situation.

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