Mayor addresses parking complaints in Tbilisi
By Londa Mindiashvili
Monday, September 14The management of CT Park and representatives of the Parliamentary opposition met Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava at City Hall on September 11. They discussed parking arrangements in Tbilisi and payment concerns.
Gigi Ugulava announced that the Tbilisi Municipality had sought to simplify parking payment procedures and reduce parking fees. CT Park, which had won the tender to do this, had now introduced a new parking system. Unfortunately the system had hit problems and Ugulava himself had certain objections to it, as had other citizens. “The parking methods and charges are not convenient for the population. I have therefore asked CT Park to produce annual parking cards, which will cost 25 GEL. With these cards drivers will be able to park in any parking place in Tbilisi,” stated Ugulava. He added that work to resolve Tbilisi’s traffic problems was being undertaken in three directions: constructing new highways, reconfiguring ten overcrowded crossroads and creating new parking lots.
Parliamentary opposition factions Strong Georgia and the Christian Democrats and Vice Speaker of the Parliament Mikheil Machavariani attended the meeting. Machavariani welcomed the proposal. “The positives and negatives of the new payment system have become clear only after it has been introduced. It has shortcomings that must be addressed. We will have to make some alterations to the regulations,” added Machavariani.
Parliament also debated the parking rules on September 11. The Christian Democrats demanded the abolition of parking charges for drivers who park outside their houses and offices, but no agreement was reached on this issue.
The Labour Party welcomed to reduction in parking payments implied by the proposed introduction of annual cards. One of its leaders, Paata Jibladze, stated that the reduction had been brought about by public protests the party had organised. He congratulated the citizens on their victory. “Of course the decision of the Mayor of Tbilisi is good and I am sure the population is really pleased. The Labour Party will not stop and we will demand the abolition of parking payments on the central streets of the capital and a reduction in the penalty for incorrect parking until the social and economic situation improves,” Jibladze told The Messenger. The Labour Party has also offered to control parking itself and check already imposed penalties.
CT Park has recently toughened the penalties it imposes on drivers who do not obey the parking rules. Its Deputy Operations Manager Irakli Jibladze said that drivers are fined in three instances – if they don’t pay their parking fees, if they park at the wrong angle and if they park outside a parking zone. He said that drivers who don’t pay for 1 to 3 hours of parking are fined GEL 20, a sum which rises to GEL 40 for not paying for 3 to 6 hours of parking. A car parked for more than 9 hours without payment is towed away to a special area.