The sharing economy has become another buzzword, partially because of a popular belief that it is an alternative to capitalism. Jim Pickell, President of HomeExchange.com, explains that the relation between the sharing economy and capitalism is contradictory: both are based on effective utilization of resources, but the sharing economy seeks to decrease consumption and advocates sustainability. In other words, the sharing economy is a more sustainable form of capitalism. One of the best known examples is Uber, a provider of ride-hailing services. In November 2015, it launched pilot services in Vilnius, Lithuania, which is rapidly developing sharing transportation infrastructure.
After one year of its presence in Vilnius, Taxify, a taxi booking app, started offering ride-hailing services. The service extension to private car drivers is a logical step towards minimizing traffic congestion and air pollution, explains Jevgeni Beloussov, Expansion Manager at Taxify. He forecasts that the popularity of ride-hailing will be growing because satisfied customers are already willingly sharing their travel experiences with others. He also notes that on average ride-hailing receives better customer feedback than regular taxi services. Many customers prefer rides with private drivers because they are better communicators, and often have newer cars. Another factor is the price: ride-hailing is a cheaper option. You need to pay a fixed fee of €0.50 and €0.50–0.60 per km per ride-hailing service compared to a fixed fee of €0.58 and €0.58–0.72 per km for taxi service. In Beloussov’s opinion, the growing competitiveness of ride-hailing can be an extra boost to improve the overall quality of transportation services.
In December 2015, eTAKSI, a digital taxi booking platform operating in Lithuania since 2013, launched a pilot ride-hailing project to meet the demand for taxi services in the festive season. “Our new activity does not set a precedent in Lithuania so a legal framework is already in preparation. The authorities have repeatedly said that they see no significant legal obstacles to ride-hailing activity so […] we have decided to introduce the pilot project,” said Andrius Norkaitis, Founder and CEO of ORYO, an administrator of eTAKSI.
Lithuanian business daily Verslo žinios reported that cooperation with eTAKSI was more financially beneficial to ride-hailing drivers than cooperation with Uber. As independent contractors, they had to pay eTAKSI a fixed fee of €0.58 per ride, i.e. about 10% of the price of an average trip. eTAKSI was obliged to pay VAT. For comparison: drivers had to pay Uber 25% of the total travel price and to pay VAT by themselves.
After the pilot testing, eTAKSI decided to provide ride-hailing services on a regular basis.
By March 2015, a car-sharing service, CityBee, expanded its station network to all Vilnius districts, and increased the number of car stations to 71. “No other Eastern European city has such a modern system […]. Vilnius residents will be able to comfortably reserve a car on a computer or […] mobile phone right before a trip, pick up the car at point A and leave it at point B, and pay only for the time they drove. In addition, we are expanding the network of places where you can pick up a CityBee car, and the number of cars 3 times. We believe that these innovations will make city cars an integral part of Vilnius’ public transport ecosystem,” Aurimas Drūtys, Director of Prime Leasing, introduced the project.
In Drūtys’ opinion, a city car is a good alternative to a private car or taxi because of its competitive pricing: €0.15–0.36 per min, €5–13 per hour and €25–65 per day. The prices include fuel, insurance and car maintenance costs. They vary by car models. Electric cars have the highest rates.
References:  Jim Pickell, Huffington Post /  manoukis.lt /  Taxify /  Tomas Federavičius, Lietuvos žinios /  Greta Jankaitytė, Verslo žinios /  DELFI /  Dina Sergijenko, Verslo žinios /  CityBee