The marshrutka project researchers, Lela Rekhviashvili and Wladimir Sgibnev have just published a paper on “Uber, Marshrutkas and socially (dis-)embedded mobilities” published by the Journal of Transport History.
This article offers a first comparative discussion about ride-sharing (ride-sourcing) practices and informal transport. It focuses primarily on Uber, and marshrutkas – a socially and economically crucial mobility offer prevailing in many post-Soviet cities. The absence or evasion of state regulations, low labour standards of transport workers, and high safety risks for passengers unite the high-tech globalised corporate ride-sourcing sector and low-tech localised marshrutkas. The digital technological leap has made it infinitely easier to recruit transport workers to de-territorialise coordination activities, to advocate for avoiding regulations and draw significant capital investments. In cities of the Global North this leads to an informalisation of formerly relatively protected labour relations. In cities of the Global South, this can involve the loss of horizontally embedded modes of shared transport, in favour of corporate ride-sourcing: further fragmentation and alienation of the labour force, without solving issues of negative externalities.
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