Giorgi Vashadze: “As if pensioners did not have enough with loans for medication, now Kaladze added more for transport passes.”
Verdict: FactCheck concludes that Giorgi Vashadze’s statement is a LIE.
Resume: From 1 February 2022, the fare for public transport in Tbilisi was changed. In particular, the standard fee for a single journey became GEL 1 instead of GEL 0.5. Of note is that apart from changes in the fare, Tbilisi City Hall also introduced public transport cards which means that people buy one-week, one-month, three-month, six-month or one-year tickets which allow them to travel without limit.
Of additional note is that Tbilisi City Hall kept the already existing discount packages for public transportation. Pensioners will still enjoy the reduced rate of metro and bus after the new tariffs come into force, and will pay 20 tetri for transport, while in the case of minibuses, travel will be cheaper for them. Therefore, the changes in the public transportation fee will not in any way affect them in a negative way financially, since they do not need to buy transport passes. Hence, Giorgi Vashadze’s statement that pensioners will have to take loans to buy passes is a LIE.
Giorgi Vashadze, MP, made the following statement on air on the TV show Sakmis Kursshi:
“As if pensioners did not have enough with loans for medication, now Kaladze added more for transport vouchers.”
FactCheck verified accuracy of the statement.
As part of Tbilisi City Hall’s public transport reform, new fares were introduced from 1 February 2022 with the fare for a single journey by subway and bus increased from GEL 0.5 to GEL 1. However, of note is that mini-bus service is now also included in the joint payment system and a single journey costs GEL 0.5, although this was previously not the case (except for blue mini-buses).
As part of the reform, Tbilisi City Hall introduced the so-called travel passes which are daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, half-year and yearly passes. After purchasing the pass, the number of journeys one can take by public transport is unlimited.
Table 1: New Fares for Tbilisi Public Transport
Source: Radio Liberty
Of additional note is that for those social groups who used discount prices for public transport in the capital city, the payment rule and the payment fee are not going to change. The categories of people who are registered in Tbilisi and can travel for free are as follows: people with visual impairment and the individual who accompanies them during the journey, WW2 veterans and people enjoying equal status, veterans who fought on territories of foreign countries and people who have equal status, veterans of the armed forces, school children and MIA district inspectors.
The GEL 0.1 tariff will be kept for members of socially vulnerable families whose total points are below 70,000 in the joint database of socially vulnerable people.
The GEL 0.2 fee will be paid by students of Tbilisi-based licensed and accredited higher and vocational educational establishments, employees of schools and kindergartens, people who were injured as a result of the crackdown on the peaceful rally on 9 April 1989 to demand the independence of Georgia and family members of those who died there, pensioners, students of the Patriarchate’s Theological Academy and Seminary, district doctors, district paediatricians, family doctors, resource officers, social agents and social workers.
As mentioned earlier, pensioners living in Tbilisi will continue to have the previously existing discount fare for public transport and still pay GEL 0.2 from 1 February 2022 and in the case of minibuses, travel is cheaper for them. Therefore, they have no need to buy any type of transport passes and hence their travel expenses have not increased.
Therefore, Giorgi Vashadze’s statement that pensioners will have to take pension loans to pay for travel expenses is a LIE.