Will Enforcement of Regulations will Raise Tariffs on Taxi Services
Taxi drivers are obliged to drive taxis painted white color starting on October 1, 2019. At the same time, taxi drivers will be differentiated into two categories – A and B - categories starting July 1, 2019.
A-category licenses will be issued to drivers for whom a taxi is the main source of income. Thus, taxi drivers wishing to cooperate with taxi companies and, on the other hand, to work on an individual basis, will have to buy white vehicles or paint their vehicles in white. As to B-category licenses, these taxi drivers will be able to work only on call, and they will be allowed to drive vehicles in any color.
Taxi drivers wishing to get municipal vouchers for painting vehicles white will be obliged to place AD banners of their company for 2 years.
The Caucasus Business Week (CBW) has inquired as to what Tbilisi City Hall regulations will change, and what the market players think about these regulations.
Owners of private taxis say that these regulations will make 80%-90% of taxi drivers unemployed. They assert that the 700-GEL voucher does not suffice, and price in service in Tbilisi ranges from 1200 to 1500 GEL.
Taxi companies explain that huge changes will take place in the market starting October 2019.
Nika Khoperia, founder of the 200-200 tax company, explains that the coming regulations will make taxis on the market deficient, and service tariffs will rise. The amount of the voucher is not sufficient, and there are several other undesirable factors that mean that taxi drivers will not paint their vehicles white.
“Not everybody will paint it white and fix AD banners, because there are people who work for other companies, and taxi driving is their side job. There are people who use no application, nothing. Some of them avoid openly working as taxi drivers. Will this category change the color of their vehicles and fix AD banners?” – Khoperia asked.
These regulations will leave tax companies without taxi drivers on calls, he said. “In my company, the majority of taxi drivers with whom we have signed contracts, and object to changing vehicle color. Everybody has specific reasons. Starting in October, the number will decline more. As a result, based on the principle of supply and demand, the tariffs will rise dramatically”, Topuria noted.
Meriko Koberidze, 26, decided to become a taxi driver in February 2019. Koberidze told Commersant that she owns a white vehicle, and this regulation will not apply to her. Despite this, Meriko Koberidze appraised the municipal initiative and declared that this may be a deliberate decision to take control of all vehicles by making them cooperate with the corresponding companies.
“Under the regulations, if a taxi driver works with a phone or an application, they are allowed to drive a vehicle in any color. The driver is only banned from fixing a taxi symbol on their car and stopping their vehicle in the street from picking up a client. I think this is mechanism to take control of taxis. Will white taxis beautify Tbilisi when there are a lot of ugly things?” Koberidze asked.
Changing the color creates another problem. Changing the manufacturing color lowers the market value of a vehicle, she said.
Service tariffs will be corrected, as confirmed by Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze, she noted.
“He has openly said that taxi service tariffs will rise. I believe taxi tariffs may rise only after bringing order to the municipal transport system. The price correction is inadmissible in the current situation”, Koberidze noted.
Starting March 1, 2019, a total of 382 vouchers have been issued to tax license owners, LLC Alma director Giorgi Trapaidze told InterPressNews. This company has won a tender to provide services.
At this stage, only 78 taxi drivers have painted their vehicles in white, Trapaidze said.
As for forecasts as to whether taxi drivers will paint their vehicles white in time, the Alma director noted that if drivers apply in time, all vehicles will be painted.
There are 29,5050 licensed taxis in Tbilisi.
As reported, on February 12, Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze noted that it is necessary to set regulations for taxis. Taxi drivers who do not register will be fined.