TBILISI, DFWatch — On their fourth day of strike, minibus drivers in Tbilisi were joined by more supporters, while Tbilisians either travel by crowded buses or metro — or walk.
Even though Tbilisi City Hall took measures to increase the number of buses and wagons in the metro, it didn’t solve the problem of overcrowding. During the day, people are barely able to squeeze themselves into the metro cars or aboard buses that are so full it is hard to breathe, and some prefer to use their own feet and walk instead.
People complaining about the strike in social networks write that in the metro, there is a better situation than on buses, but unfortunately the metro only has two lines and doesn’t go to many districts of Tbilisi. Even the buses cannot cover all the locations which the yellow minibuses go to.
“I live in Svanetis Ubani and need to go to Plateaus every day. I have to wait for the only bus for ages to get me to the Metro Station, than go to Delisi station and wait another ages for the only bus which will take me to first Plateau, while there was a minibus directly taking me there. I loose hours of my time,” Ketevan, 43, writes.
But there is no sign yet that the strike will end. There are ongoing negotiations with Tbilisi City Hall and the company running the minibus lines.
Drivers do not plan to go back to work until their daily license fee is reduced by at least 30 percent.
Gocha Mikadze, head of the drivers’s initiative group which is in charge of negotiating with management, told journalists that they also need a guarantee from Tbilisi City Hall that in seven years, when drivers will finally finish their down-payment for the purchase of the new yellow minibuses, the will have the right to work as drivers for years into the future.
Another meeting is planned at City Hall 18:00 today to continue the discussions about reducing license fees and other demands.