The Yandex.Taxi partners in Lithuania include Autosteka, Ekipažas, Nordikus (working under the brand Pavezek.lt), MMN (working under the brand VB Taksi) and Rent-BMW.lt, a website for renting expensive cars.
Yandex.Taxi launched operations in Vilnius on Jul. 26, and the company's representatives told media outlets then it was starting business with 300 cars and planned to further increase their number and expand to Kaunas and Klaipėda in the future.
Lithuania's State Security Department recommends people who potentially might be of interest to Russian special services against using the Yandex.Taxi app. And the Lithuanian Cyber Security Center warned that the Yandex.Taxi app regularly send user data to servers in Russia.
Nordikus and Autosteka were established less than a year ago. Miglė Katinienė, head of Nordikus, says the company is aware of Lithuanian institutions' recommendations against using the Yandex.Taxi app but Nordikus has no plans as yet to terminate cooperation with Yandex.Taxi.
"Naturally, we take recommendations by Lithuanian law enforcement and other state institutions responsible for the country's security seriously and we are having a close look on the situation. Despite that, we have not received any official validated data that Yandex.Taxi activity in Lithuania runs counter to Lithuanian or EU laws, therefore, we have no rational basis for terminating the cooperation contract with the company," Katinienė said.
Ekipažas, operating for more than 20 years, is owned by Russian citizen Dmitry Bondarevskiy, now residing in Sweden. He told BNS Lithuania he's not in Lithuania at the moment and would comment on cooperation with Yandex.Taxi next week.
Established in 2013, MMN has been providing taxi services in the Klaipėda region, western Lithuania, for more than 20 years. Speaking with BNS Lithuania, MMN director and sole shareholder Michail Zbarazski confirmed information that his company is cooperating with Yandex.Taxi, adding, however, that it's not related to the latter's plans to later offer ride-sharing services to Klaipėda residents.
"We are working with Yandex.Taxi on providing services in Vilnius, and we have our representative here. (…) We have just started working, and we are looking into how things are going. But orders are moving, as far as I understand. Yandex is spending big money on this matter and won’t let go of the Lithuanian market," he said.
Garri Serbul, head of Rent-BMW.lt and one of the managers of the GG7 advertising agency, told BNS Lithuania vehicles offered on his website are used for both Yandex.Taxi's advertising campaign and ride-sharing services.
"They (Yandex.Taxi) found me to kill to birds with one stone and to have an advertising project and cars. In this case, under the agreement with Yandex.Taxi, all of my vehicles bear their advertisements. I'm providing Mercedes Benz and BMW cars, and I have also re-rented some vehicles from my partners," he said.
He also added that the majority of drivers would continue working with Yandex.Taxi after the end of the advertising project.