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Mayor’s Office provides explanations on new regulations for taxi drivers

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, April 8
Tbilisi Mayor’s Office has released a special statement where the body said various local media outlets were spreading inaccurate information concerning the planned changes for taxi companies and ordinary taxi drivers.

The Mayor’s Office dismissed speculations that the body planned to set a special tax for the service providers, as had been reported.

The Mayor’s Office stated the only issue they are discussing now is a draft that will ensure safe and comfortable transportation for people.

They announced the draft will specify whether a taxi meets all the necessary technical conditions and whether the drivers are capable enough to offer the service, based on their qualification to drive and psychological condition.

The Mayor’s Office also stated they knew driving a taxi is in many cases the ‘main or only source of income’ for many Georgian families and promised they would have this into account when working on the draft.

Local analysts say the Government will stretch bringing such new rules into effect to the post-election period to avoid public dissatisfaction.

There is no official data how many people are involved in the business in the capital city.

According to unofficial figures, there are about 20,000-40,000 taxis in Tbilisi. Drivers are mainly self-employed, without any qualifications to guarantee safety and comfort for passengers.

Experts say that initially the Mayor’s Office should count the number of taxi drivers and only after that start working on an action plan.

They also claim that many cars used as taxis are either right-hand vehicles or have been remade as left-hand-vehicles after purchase, which also apparently creates danger on Georgian roads.

The companies providing taxi services say regulations are necessary in the field, and say the new rules will not boost prices as there will always be high competition in the sector.

Meanwhile, individual drivers say their taxis are their main source of income and demand additional guarantees from the Government in case they will be forced to quit working.