Posted: 1 year ago

Georgia to Introduce New Regulations for Intercity Transfers

The Georgian government is planning to implement new regulations for bus stations and passenger transport operators to improve safety, comfort, and efficiency for intercity transfers. Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has emphasized the need for bus stations to comply with European standards and for passenger transportation to be comfortable and safe.

The Ministry of Economy has identified existing problems, including the commercial transportation of passengers bypassing stations by so-called "predators," and the transportation of passengers from mass gathering places instead of bus stations, leading to chaotic traffic, traffic jams, and environmental pollution. Additionally, many passenger carriers are operating without proper registration, traffic schedules, and adherence to traffic, environmental protection, and driver rest norms.

To address these issues, the government plans to initiate legislative changes in the Parliament during the spring session of this year. The changes will include the registration of transfer operators, setting requirements for bus stations, and bringing infrastructure into compliance with technical regulations. Passenger transport operators and bus stations will be given a reasonable transition period until May 1, 2025, to comply with the new regulations.

The first phase of the changes will require passenger transport operators to submit information about their activities and fleet and ensure that minimum standards are met, including passing roadworthiness tests for all vehicles. Transfers based on general requirements will be carried out only by registered operators, which will significantly improve the current situation.

From 2025, different requirements will be imposed to improve service quality and road traffic safety. Bus stations will be required to use only the services of operators with appropriate permission from the state. Bus stations will be divided into three classes, and the requirements they will be obliged to meet will depend on the class. The strictest requirements will be imposed on bus stations serving both domestic and international flights.

Non-compliance with technical regulations and unauthorized operation of bus stations will result in certain fines. The amount of fines is being determined at this stage.

The new regulations are expected to enhance the quality and safety of intercity transfers, reduce traffic congestion and environmental pollution, and bring the Georgian transportation sector up to European standards. Business entities have been informed of the planned changes, and the government hopes to complete discussions during the autumn session and implement the first stage of the changes from the first of March next year.