Siberia Discovered Uber Before Uber

Moscow Gets First Big Carsharing System to Tackle Traffic Jams

By Anastasia Bazenkova, Moscow Times
Sep. 16 2015 19:40
Last edited 19:41

“A government-backed carsharing service launched in Moscow last week in the latest effort by City Hall to ease the capital’s (sic) infamous traffic jams.  Each carsharing vehicle can replace 10 private cars, according to Sobyanin . . .”

I found this ‘announcement’ from Moscow interesting.  Living in Siberia in the mid 90’s, it was common practice to flag down citizens for a ride.  Certainly, there was no such thing as a taxi service anywhere in the Russian Far East.

In the beginning, it was a painful experience – my unintelligible Russian exacerbated my limited navigational skills and I often found myself walking to my final destination from parts unknown.  Thank goodness the Russians built their dwellings up – that is, cities rarely sprawled beyond tight concentric circles radiating from the center.

Nonetheless, much of my cultural education was formed by the sometimes absurd conversations (no doubt, peppered with mutual non sequiturs) with these random citizens.

Some were delighted to meet an American – others – not so much. But, in typical Russian fashion, they were all eager to share their opinions about the U.S.  of A.

The ruble was fluctuating so wildly at the time (1992 – the year after the collapse of the Soviet Union) that I always paid a multiple of the price of a pack of cigarettes – depending upon the distance.  I couldn’t keep up with the currency rate but I always knew how much the street demanded for a pack of ‘Mores’.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *