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Democracy and transport

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, November 11
One of Georgia’s printed media outlets has just conducted a survey, in which members of the public were queried about the state bodies and institutions they liked or disliked.

The first position in the online survey – in which up to 700 interviewees participated - was taken by the Tbilisi Mayor’s Office as the most ineffective structure.

It should be noted that expectations of the current Tbilisi Mayor Davit Narmania were higher before elected, taking his excellent qualifications and education into account, as well as his working experience in the economic field.

One of the pre-election promises was related to transport. Apart from the metro, the major means of public transport in the capital are the so-called yellow busses and mini-busses (marshutkas) introduced under the previous state leadership.

Even at their inception, the effectiveness of these methods of transport was called into question as shortly after their introduction they suffered from certain technical problems.

There are several issues we should touch on while discussing the issue.

For marshutkas, the transport fee stands at 80 tetri, but they are frequently overcrowded, especially at rush hours. The drivers stop the transport and pick up passengers even when there is barely any room to breathe and stand inside.

Of course there are limits for the transport as to how many people should stand. In general, in Georgia more people stand than sit; surely this is a danger to health and safety.

In addition, there is always a problem in terms of switching on the heating in winter and the air conditioning in summer.

It should also be mentioned that in order to pick up more passengers, marshutka drivers often try to be faster than others and often violate driving rules.

The situation is even harder with regards to the yellow busses. They remain decidedly uncomfortable; the seating alone makes one aware of the technical problems of the vehicle, and the noise of the tyres, engine and hydraulic system can be inherently unpleasant. The Mayor’s Office has promised that they would be replaced by new vehicles, though this promised has yet to be fulfilled.

When the previous state leadership introduced the new busses and marshutkas, they also raised the transport fees, despite the fact that passengers still had to stand in the vehicles and their own financial condition was not any better then as it is today.

One can hope that the Tbilisi Government really will introduce new transport in the capital, but the worry that conditions inside the vehicles will undoubtedly remain.