Drivers of Category A taxis in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi will be able to trade their professional licenses on a new platform, enjoy indefinite permits and pick up and drop off passengers in bus lanes, as part of a new phase of the reform for the sector starting in April.
Mayor Kakha Kaladze and Vice Mayor Irakli Khmaladze announced the changes on Thursday, with the City Hall announcing the third phase of the reform, which was launched in 2018, would be mostly oriented on organising license categories.
Category A permits will become indefinite - a change from the current one-year validity - with a new platform enabling owners to trade the licenses, they revealed.
Khmaladze said the new Category A licenses would be handed out to drivers who had previously owned them at any point between October 1, 2019 and March 20, 2023. The drivers will need to activate the permits to avoid their automatic cancellation.
Photo: video grab
The officials also said their office was working with the Interior Ministry to introduce changes to traffic regulations that would permit drivers of Category A taxis to stop in bus lanes in the capital for pickup or dropoff of passengers.
Regulations around Category B taxis will remain unchanged, the announcement added.
The reform was launched to address the often chaotic operation of taxis in the city and introduce regulations for both drivers and their vehicles.
The first stage of the reform involved introduction of the licenses that were split into the two categories, with the second phase setting visual standards for taxi vehicles starting in 2019.
The latter required white visual finish for Category A vehicles and allowed their drivers to stop at designated spots throughout the capital, while drivers with Category B permits can operate for ride-hailing services without restrictions on visuals of their vehicles.