Uber Launches Services in Astana

ASTANA – Uber has big plans for Kazakhstan and took its first step June 10 launching service in the capital.

File illustration picture showing the logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone next to the picture of an official German taxi sign in Frankfurt, September 15, 2014. A Frankfurt court earlier this month instituted a temporary injunction against Uber from offering car-sharing services across Germany. San Francisco-based Uber, which allows users to summon taxi-like services on their smartphones, offers two main services, Uber, its classic low-cost, limousine pick-up service, and Uberpop, a newer ride-sharing service, which connects private drivers to passengers - an established practice in Germany that nonetheless operates in a legal grey area of rules governing commercial transportation. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/Files (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT CRIME LAW TRANSPORT)

According to Deputy Akim (Mayor) Malika Bekturova, the Kazakh authorities have been negotiating with the company for quite some time. Uber’s non-cash payment method fits with the government’s payment transparency policy.

“The transparency of Uber will aid in the further development of small and medium-sized business, bring revenue to the state budget and introduce one more world brand to the market,” she told local media.

“Our start-up is dynamically developing and growing,” said Uber General Manager in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Alexei Stakh.

“We [operate] in over 400 cities and 70 countries around the world. We are very glad to enter the Kazakhstan [market] starting with the capital. … Today we see how the government welcomes innovations that improve the existing scope. We will undertake all measures so Kazakhs would receive the service they expect,” he added.

Uber can be downloaded from either the Apple Store or Google Play Market while the affordable uberX, with vehicles of comfort class, will be the first service for the residents of the capital; these include such makes of cars as Toyota Camry, Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio in excellent condition and no older than 7 years.

According to forbes.kz, it will cost 170 tenge (US$0.51) to call a cab, 40 tenge (US$0.12) per one kilometre and five tenge (US$0.01) per minute, where the kilometres and the timing are summed up at the end of the trip.

So the trip from the House of the Ministries to the Khan Shatyr Mall would cost around 400 tenge (US$1.2). The trip from the shopping center Duman to the Astana Mall on the right bank would cost about 500 tenge (US$1.5). From the Palace of Peace and Harmony to the train station a trip can be estimated at around 650 tenge (US$2).

After each trip, drivers can be evaluated by customers on a scale of one to five, where one is terrible and five is excellent. Uber monitors drivers with bad reviews and suspends unsatisfactory performers.

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