Taxi Registration Website Criticized for its Complexity

On August 1, Tbilisi City Hall officially opened the online platform for taxi drivers to register for a license. Deputy Mayor Maia Bitadze announced the opening in a public press briefing.

In accordance with legislative amendments adopted by the Parliament of Georgia in January, Tbilisi City Hall and the City Assembly approved rules to regulate the taxi industry. By November, all taxi drivers will be required to register with City Hall by paying a fee of 100 GEL (50 GEL for a hybrid vehicle, free for electric cars), and presenting their driver’s license and personal identification documents. By January 2019, additional regulations will be in place – most importantly, mandatory annual inspections for all vehicles in the city, unified standards including a mandatory color for all taxis, and additional security norms.

The new regulations allow any taxi driver seeking a license to apply in person at City Hall or online. However, the online application system has received criticism for its complexity and inaccessibility. Since August 1, just 47 applicants have been granted permits.

“The website has been launched,” said Bitadze on Wednesday. “It offers any seeker easy and flexible procedures to obtain a license. Passing the respective stages on the website needs only the uploading of personal data, driving license, and information on the vehicle. A license may also be procured at district government offices where staff from Tbilisi City Hall are allocated specifically to assist any license seeker to register.”

License seekers have until October 1 to register, and their license will be valid until October 1, 2019. “The license holder must print out the document and display it in a visible place in the vehicle. In the meantime, a yellow sign should be placed on the body of the vehicle. From October 1, a penalty of GEL 200 will be imposed on taxi drivers by the Patrol Police and department of transport of Tbilisi City Hall for taxis lacking the proper permit,” Bitadze said.

Critics of the website say it is nearly impossible to navigate without assistance from City Hall employees. Applicants are required to input a code that comes with a new ID card, which most people do not keep. To get a new code, you must apply for a new ID, which costs 35 GEL. Another challenge is that applicants must have an external ID card reader device to upload their ID.

Specifics on the second stage of taxi regulation will be released in October, which will focus on the visual aspect of the vehicles, such as a unified color. According to Bitadze, discussions on projected regulations for the taxi industry have been ongoing over the past few months. The regulation process, including the creation of the website and other public support initiatives, involved Tbilisi City Hall, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Parliament of Georgia. Experts from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development also supported the municipality.

By Samantha Guthrie

06 August 2018 16:57