Minsk dwellers will have to pay taxi-drivers for “idling” if they order a taxi to carry out garbage.
A minimum payment for a trip in a taxi has been introduced in Minsk. You will have to pay 4950 BRB even if you ride for only 200 meters. The meter will start counting money only after your trip exceeds the distance of 3.5 kilometers. The association “Capital Taxi” informed ERB that the number of short trips for less then a kilometer has increased recently. It’s about 10-15% of all orders. Such orders are rather common in rainy weather. Many Minsk taxi services are becoming unprofitable because of that. A member of the administration of “Capital Taxi” Dzmitry Navasheuski continues:
“Taxi-drivers have to pick up passengers and drive a long distance from the park and from the previous destination. The correlation of the length of trips and the distance we have to drive to pick up a passenger leads to losses. We cannot refuse passengers ordering a taxi for a short distance but they have to pay for what we spend to pick them up”.
Statistics showed that any trip becomes profitable after 3.5 kilometers. An average trip is 8-10 kilometers. Do taxi-drivers agree to such changes? Some of them think it’s a violation of the rights of consumers, others do not like amateurs of short trips:
“There are some people, for example, an old woman who is 75, and who is also ill with sclerosis, ordering a taxi to deliver her from Surhanava 49 to Surhanava 51 to the refuse bin so that she could throw away garbage. Some people order a taxi for a 3 or 4 thousand BRB. Anyway, I don’t think people will stop using taxis”.
Probably people will continue ordering taxis. It concerns those who cannot use public transport or walk because of health problems. Dzmitry Navasheuski said that a special tariff will be worked out for them:
“If handicapped people are going to visit a chemist's shop or a hospital the rule will not be applied to them There will also be a 50% discount for such people. But if a handicapped person is going to visit the market then there will not be any discount”.
Taxi companies may lose some of their clients. But it is better then increasing the general tariff for taxi trips.
But the fact that consumers’ rights may be violated during short trips is very important. The head of the civil association “Consumer Protection” Iryna Kanaplitskaya says:
“The service was imposed, but it has to be explained by something. Maybe consumer’s rights are violated because you have to pay for a service that has not been provided yet”.
But there is also something positive about the change – it will make taxi-drivers turn the meter on every time.