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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Wanted: Psychologist Taxi

A few years ago, when you got into a gypsy cab in Moscow, there was a chance that as you plumped down, the back of the seat would give way and you had a choice: Stick your hand behind you and hold the seat in place all the way or lie back and think of Mother Russia.

Some of the Lada seats were set at an angle of 120 degrees, while a few went back 180 degrees as if you were lying on the couch of a wise psychologist. Even if he seemed more like a psycho as he tried to tune into Radio Chanson with both hands.

There may be similar seats in Linar’s psychologist taxi, which combines the useful and the functional, as his ad says. He also offers Freudian analysis, which must be interesting around Moskva-City.

Linar is a trained psychologist who offers the “solving of existential problems” while driving and offers a “discount for frequent clients.”

The idea of telling a taxi driver your problems may seem like a rare but perfect revenge, but there is obviously something in the air, as Pavel, another trained psychologist, was advertising the same service on another site.

Both Linar and Pavel started offering the service in the last few weeks, but they are lagging behind the star of psychological taxis, Vadim in Tomsk, who has had a starring role in the Tomsk edition of Komsomolskaya Pravda even though he only started just after New Year’s.

“I don’t know why it happened,” said Pavel when asked about the sprouting of psychological taxis. “Somebody had to invent tights at one point, didn’t they? And at some point somebody had to invent Freudian psychology.”

Pavel has only had one client so far, and he realized that their problems were too deep to be solved while reversing at 60 kilometers per hour after missing the turn off the MKAD (forgive me, Pavel, if this stereotyping does not fit your driving skills), while my call was Linar’s first since he put in the ad.

Linar charges 1,000 rubles an hour, cheap compared to Pavel who charges 1,200 rubles and prefers people with problems who live near Metro Semyonovskaya.

Vadim has been far more successful. A former airport traffic controller, Vadim is not a psychologist but began his Tomsk version when his less troubled clients began to disappear. He charges only 200 rubles for a ride and hopes to eventually have a whole fleet of 20 to 30 psychological taxis covering the whole of Tomsk.

Still, the paper did note one problem. “We worked out that the most difficult part of the work of the taxi psychologist is to communicate and at the same time keep an eye on the road,” Tomsk KP chirped. “In the dangerous areas, Vadim fell silent for a while.”