REVIEW #5: Sharing Economy in Lithuania: Lessons of Success and Failure

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The sharing economy is becoming the next big thing. To recap briefly, it is a type of business model where the online platform enables buyers and sellers to communicate directly. The market players are usually (but not exclusively) people who work on a freelance basis. In addition, digital platforms usually provide various tools like direct contact options, feedback and payment systems, etc.

According to the European Commission, in 2015, the gross revenue in the European Union from collaborative platforms and providers was estimated to be EUR 28 billion. In the United States, nearly 1% of adults actively earn income from the online platform economy. Nevertheless, compared to the last three years, this number has increased tenfold. The total number of people who have used sharing economy platforms has increased forty seven times in the last three years. Even though the numbers are still not significant, the recent increase has been immense. Taking this and other factors into consideration, the European Parliament estimates that the potential economic gain from the better use of capacities enabled by the sharing economy is EUR 572 billion in annual consumption across the EU.

The first sharing economy businesses appeared in Lithuania only a couple of years ago. Therefore, there is not enough economic data to evaluate how significant it has been to the Lithuanian economy. The sectors that the sharing economy business models emerge in are rather different and completely separated. This has led to both – different attitudes of the governmental institutions and different paces of development. In order to see how sharing economy markets operate, an analysis of the relationship between the governing bodies and the sharing economies is much needed.

TAXI REGULATIONS IN LITHUANIA

The main passenger transporting companies in Lithuania are taxi companies. Taxi drivers and their cars are subject to a certain set of rules and requirements. As in most of the countries, special marking signs are required for cars. These include a taxi sign which has to be placed on top of a car and has to be lit while the car is being used as a taxi. A car must also have a specific yellow and black marking on the outside of it. Requirements for taxi cars also include specific license plates and more strict civil insurance policies, which tend to be more expensive than the ones for regular cars. Moreover, taxi cars have to pass a vehicle inspection once a year, and twice a year if a car is older than five years.

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Dominykas Sumskis
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