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Residents of Tbilisi to be calmed down with vouchers2011-10-20 11:17
Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava decided to make a small present to residents of the capital city introducing public transport vouchers. As announced, people will use metro and buses free of charge for half a month. Many might ask about the reason for such generosity? Versions are numerous but money-laundering seems to be the most prosaic.
GEL 5 mln is the amount Tbilisi authorities plan to spend on public transport vouchers to be distributed among residents. One million people will have USD 3 cards for free trips in metro and by bus. Pensioners and privileged persons pay less, so they will use their vouchers for a longer time - nearly two weeks.
"Residents of Tbilisi have many problems, so the mayoral office decided to pay for public transport at least, - Caucasian Knot quotes Gigi Ugulava. - This is not an expensive gift. Yet, it will reduce transport costs. He also announced plans to carry out such activities in the future in view of increasing transport costs and prices of first necessity goods.
Indeed, Georgia is now facing transport problems. To be more exact, it's ticket cost. The story began in February when city authorities made an agreement with four companies who won the tender for passenger services licenses in Tbilisi. However, owners and drivers of taxi buses stated that the mayor's office was planning to raise fares and introduce daily levies for drivers. However, the authorities deny these accusations. As the head of Tbilisi's transport administration Akaki Jokhadze promised, the price of a ticket in a taxi bus will not go up.
Transport fares drastically went up in summer - from 50 to 80 tetris under the pretext of air conditioning systems installed in taxi buses. As a result, people went onto the streets to protest. During a manifestation attended by common city residents and representatives of NGOs people stated that high transport fares in taxi buses with air conditioners are ignored in favor of old minibuses used in different routes. Yet, owners of old minibuses were forced to raise fares too.
A short time later the opposition joined in public protests. According to Sofo Horguani, a leader of Georgian party, rumors on pressure from authorities are heard still more often. "Fare increase is no good to both - drivers and passengers", - she remarked. Tbilisi's mayoral office was indifferent denying involvement in the leap in prices.