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Legislative initiative to regulate Uber-like taxi services in Belarus Society


According BelTA the legislation to regulate the use of mobile apps to call a taxi will improve the quality of services rendered, BelTA learned from Andrei Rybak, Chairman of the Industry, Fuel and Energy Complex, Transport, and Communication Commission of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus, on 21 January.

The statement was made before a session of the Commission's working group, which is tasked with preparing the bill to amend the law on automobile transport and automobile transportation in Belarus for the second reading. The working group of the Industry, Fuel and Energy Complex, Transport, and Communication Commission focuses on the application of digital technologies in transport industry, in particular, the use of digital technologies for organizing transportation by taxi. According to Andrei Rybak, mobile apps are frequently used by private companies these days. In addition to ordering a service such apps can calculate the preliminary cost, identify the transporting company, the transport vehicle, submit feedback about the service, and even pay for the service without using cash. The MP said he believes that these technologies are poorly regulated by the Belarusian legislation. The situation can result in arguments such as the inability to protect interests of passengers, arguments about the safety of transportation and the safety of the data the transporting company gets, including personal information transferred as part of payment card information, said Andrei Rybak. The MP explained that the companies that use these mobile apps, in particular, Uber, do not position themselves as taxi services. Instead they say they offer freight services. First of all, it is necessary to unify requirements for such services. All the requirements that regular taxi companies are supposed to comply with must apply to the Uber-like transport companies. However, if the mobile application allows cashless payments, the transporting company of the new kind may not need taximeters and cash registers. This nuance is being discussed with the Tax and Duties Ministry, the Finance Ministry, and the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus. Belarusian MPs would also like to address the matter of the safe use of payment cards. For instance, Uber does not reside in Belarus. To use its services, clients have to transfer their payment card information abroad. How can their financial assets be protected? How can the client contact the non-resident company if he or she needs to return the money? It is necessary to take a closer look at these matters in order to clearly understand financial mechanisms and protect service users, the MP is convinced. On the whole, the law needs to make provisions for digital information systems with payment as an option. It is necessary to regulate how market participants can use such systems, what rights and responsibilities every step entails. By taking care of these matters, it will be possible to improve the market penetration and quality of these services. The safety of transportation will be improved, noted Andrei Rybak.

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