Last month Mail.ru Group, a leading LSE-listed Russian Internet group, launched a ride sharing service in Russia and neighboring Russian-speaking countries.
Dubbed ‘Beepcar,’ the service is available in Russian and English languages. Among other features, an automatic confirmation option is intended for drivers who would welcome any fellow passengers without validating their requests individually.
The service has initially been made available to users from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. However, users can agree trips to as far as Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia, Romania, Czech Republic and Azerbaijan.
“The largest number of queries are coming now from the Russian Caucasus as well as from neighboring Georgia and Armenia,” Anna Artamonova, VP Head of Email and Portal Business Unit, told East-West Digital News.
Beepcar does not rule out expanding its coverage further in the future: “For now, we are following user requests,” said Artamonova.
Thus Mail.ru Group is measuring itself against Blablacar, which has reached a “phenomenal level” of activity in Russia, according to its CEO Nicolas Bruisson, three years after launch in the region.
Russia might even become Blablacar’s number one market this year, even before France.
Last year, the company introduced booking fees in Russia and neighboring countries.
On its side, BeepCar does not charge its users, and does not plan to introduce any paid service within the next 1-2 years, said Artamonova.