Tbilisi City Hall presented a specific plan of what should be done and how the transport system should be organized. The plan includes updating and synchronizing the transport network, replacing and increasing the number of buses, arranging a bus lane, significantly reducing the number of minibuses and their complete renewal, the addition of 12 units of trainsetsin the subway, taxi reform, the introduction of the zonal-hourly parking system, as well as the introduction of Intelligent Traffic Management System.
“The updated network of public transport has been put into operation since 2022. This network is still being monitored today, what are the challenges, where is there a need to add a bus or a minibus. Buses were completely replaced and their number increased from 655 to 860 units. We all remember what kind of public transport served the population. I would like to remind you once again that the yellow buses were in the worst condition, and all the resources were exhausted. Dilapidated and rotten-to-the-core buses served the residents of Tbilisi. Without any air conditioning or heating. It was a serious challenge. It is no coincidence that the demand for public transport was very low. There was a reason for this – public transport was disorderly.
A 47-kilometer separated bus lane has been painted across the city. This is certainly not enough. We are still working in this direction. The minibus park has been completely renewed and today 1000 European-type orderly, properly operating minibuses serve the city. Their number decreased, however, the number of buses increased. 32 cars have been added to the subway, and 79 cars have been overhauled. Subway had cars that could be repaired and rehabilitated, and of course, this project has been implemented.
The Loan Agreement has been signed for the purpose of implementing the Intelligent Transport System, as a result of which the system will be fully implemented by 2026. It is a very important and quite expensive trend, but the implementation of this project in the city is vital. As a result, the public transport coverage area increased from 78% to 87 in populated areas %, and the capacity of public transport increased by 60%, to a total of 84,060 seats. As for the waiting time, it was reduced from 28 minutes to 18 minutes in the case of buses, and from 4 to 2.5 minutes in the subway. In addition, the new public transport emits five times less carbon dioxide. You may remember how dire the situation was in terms of emissions.
Today’s challenges are 13 problematic junctions – this creates a serious problem for public transport in terms of movement. This leads to an increase in the number of passengers in buses and minibuses. They fail to complete the corresponding turns. Transport should not be stuck in a traffic jam. For this, it is necessary to fix these 13 problematic junctions and continue arranging bus lanes; further reduction of waiting times for buses from 18 to 8 minutes – the average waiting time is 18 minutes, however, there are areas where people have to wait half an hour or 40 minutes; in addition, it is a challenge to create an opportunity to travel by public transport in 30% less time. Therefore, it is necessary to organize the infrastructure and add new buses.
Increasing the use of public transport by an average of 10% per year – our policy is directed towards the fact that as many people as possible use public transport and as few as possible use a private car, especially on working days; increasing the total capacity of public transport, which will be possible with the addition of new 18-meter buses; the challenge is the renovation of subway stations, which we will solve shortly.
To solve the existing challenges, the following steps should be taken: 13 problematic junctions will be fixed, thus connecting 10 transit corridors; additionally, purchase and import of 200 units of the 18-meter buses; adding 40 new cars for the subway; rehabilitation of subway stations; the implementation of the Intelligent Traffic Management System and the III stage of taxi reform.
Ten transit corridors will be organized in Tbilisi, as a result, public transport will be able to move even faster and smoother. The transit corridors are: Corridor I (Politkovskaya St.-Gabriel Salosi Ave.); Corridor II (University St.-Moscow Ave.); Corridor III (Tamarashvili St.-Moscov Ave.); Corridor IV (Chavchavadze Ave. - Khizanishvili St.); Corridor V (Vazha-Pshavela Ave. - Gabriel Salosi Ave.); Corridor VI (University St. - Kupradze St.); Corridor VII (Khizanishvili St. - Kupradze St.); Corridor VIII (Tavdadebuli St. - Station Square); Corridor IX (Tavdadebuli St. - University St.); Corridor X (Khizanishvili St. - University St.); the arrangement of 10 rapid transit corridors will be completed.
In 2023, we will purchase 200 units of 18-meter buses, and the process will be completed in 2023-2024. This will further increase the capacity of public transport. The most important component is the renewal of the metropolitan area. We have taken certain steps in this direction as well. With the support of international financial organizations, power cables have been replaced, and cooling systems have been updated. In addition, we are cooperating with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the rehabilitation of subway stations will continue. From 2023, the introduction of the automated management and control system of flows, the detection of traffic jams in real-time incidents, the rapid response of public transport, and the prioritization of special transport will begin. As a result, we will get more orderly and accelerated traffic and reduced traffic jams.
In the third stage of taxi reform, category A taxi permit will become a license bond. Category A taxi drivers will be given a permit free of charge in permanent ownership. The annual taxi permit fee will remain unchanged. Taxi permit market services will be implemented through an electronic platform. It will be possible to use the permit, both by taxi service and by transfer in the form of lease, pledge, and sale.
Compared to 2017, the capacity of public transport will be increased by 110% and we will get approximately 110,000 additional seats. Street flow capacity will increase by 70%. The flow capacity of the streets is for everyone, the best example of this is Chavchavadze Avenue. This approach will continue with other streets and avenues as well. The increase in the use of public transport will be 10% annually, and we will be able to move around the city in 30% less time. The movement should no longer be a problem”, - said Kakha Kaladze.