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Tbilisians live by their legs2011-08-29 14:08
Georgians' struggle with their authorities acquires curious forms. Meetings and manifestations do not give any effect, especially that the country's government descends to openly tight methods of breaking them up. Local opposition has to contrive more intricate ways to express its opinion. For instance, the increase of minibus taxi tariffs in Tbilisi may lead to the first "pedestrian revolution" in the world.
The necessity to pay almost one and a half times more for taking a minibus taxi painfully hits the Georgians in their wallet. A difference between 50 and 80 tetris is not that great but the trips are many, so the budget is seriously affected. It should seem that nothing terrible goes on, things developing according to the business law. The transport cost was increased by the company that has recently renewed its bus fleet, having much improved the level of comfort in the compartments. Naturally, Tbilisi Microbus Company wants to get more from its clients for the comfortable seats and air-conditioners in the minibuses. The only embarrassing point is the company management's close connections with the city administration.
The local authorities' reaction to the multiple protest actions of the citizens who are displeased with the price growth seem natural. After a number of meetings held near the parliament building the officials addressed a special statement - not to the monopolist's representatives asking them to bring down their appetites but to the meetings participants. Officials of the Mayor's Office took the businessmen's side, trying to explain that they are simply unable to influence the company's pricing policy in the absence of a definite tariff policy.
However, these explanations did not sound convincing to the people and only reconfirmed the fact that all the talking about the eliminated corruption that the local authorities are so fond of costs much less than a trip in a public transport - no matter whether the ticket is 50 or 80 tetris.