Tbilisi Taxi Reform: the Third Phase?

The third phase of the Tbilisi taxi reform might be put into operation, seeing the prohibition of old taxis providing taxi service in Tbilisi.

The third phase might be even harder on taxi drivers than previous phases, since many drive cars with old release dates. To help in the matter, the third phase of the reform will include offering preferential loans to cab drivers so that they can buy new cars.

However, the new initiatives will not be put into effect unless an agreement is reached with taxi cab drivers themselves, Mamuka Mumladze, head of the Tbilisi City Hall Transport Service, told InterpressNews.

The Tbilisi taxi reform was ruled on in the summer. The initiative’s first phase organized technical checks of the cars and giving out of vouchers to drivers to paint their taxi cabs white. The second phase was put into operation in October and saw all the taxi cabs wanting to pick up passengers from the street – ‘A category’ taxis - required to be painted white. B category taxis are colored but only work to order and are not allowed to put up a taxi sign or pick up passengers from the street.

The taxi reform caused outrage among Georgian political parties; who called it “snobbish” and “unnecessary”. Girchi political party even founded “შმAXI” an alternative to the taxi where cab drivers can provide their service with cars of any color.  Taxi drivers and passengers are not too happy with the limitations either; many of them complaining about the increased price of the taxi service. However, Tbilisi City Hall has refused to hear the complaints, with Mamuka Mumladze claiming that the cost remains stable. Taxi Company Bolt supported the argument with data, suggesting that during the first two days of the taxi reform, the price increased by 5% and then fell back to the original cost.

By Nini Dakhundaridze

11 October 2019 14:16