Uber faces ban in Moscow unless security & data-sharing agreement is finalized

© Ramil Sitdikov
Moscow has threatened to ban Uber from operating in the Russian capital unless the US-based company stops breaking deadlines and signs a data-sharing agreement with the transport department designed to increase the security of service users and taxi drivers.

The city wants Uber to first of all only employ the legally registered taxi drivers for their mobile-app ride service. Secondly, Moscow wants the San Francisco-based company to provide the “anonymous” metadata of their passengers’ travel routes.

City authorities, who allege that Uber’s use of drivers who are not licensed to drive taxicabs is unsafe and illegal, have been in negotiation with the company for months but are yet to sign an agreement that had been due before the end of 2015, Maxim Liksutov, Moscow Deputy Mayor responsible for transport networks in the capital, told Gazeta.ru.

During the negotiation process, Uber “agreed to sign an agreement” based on the proposed city’s preconditions that would guarantee passengers’ safety and also that of the drivers, Liksutov said. Yet, according to the officials, Uber has yet to sign the agreement even after the initial signing deadline was pushed to the end of January.

“Uber was ready to sign such an agreement before the end of 2015. Then they, referring to their corporate procedures, asked us to extend this period to the end of January. And their last request was to wait ten days – again referring to their corporate procedures,” Liksutov said.

While the city has agreed to “wait for some time,” unless the agreement is signed, Moscow will be forced to terminate Uber services in the Russian capital.

“If the company does not sign an agreement with us, we will appeal to law enforcement agencies, judicial authorities, demanding to ban the operation of the [Uber] mobile application on the territory of Moscow,” Liksutov made it clear.

Commenting on the city’s concerns, Uber stressed that internal company’s procedures are responsible for the delay in finalizing the deal, Uber representative of in Russia Evgenya Shipova told a number of Russian news outlets.

“We are working on an agreement and have come up with the final version, which suits both parties. There is no conflict and crime [with Moscow's demands]. Everything is going according to plan,” Shipova told Echo Moscow radio station. She also stressed that she “does not have the impression” that Moscow wants to ban Uber from operating in the city.