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Yerevan Taxi Drivers Protest, Ask State to Apply Existing Laws (VIDEO)

Dozens of Yerevan taxi drivers held a protest yesterday, demanding the application of legislative amendments adopted a year and a half ago that stipulate yellow license plates are no longer mandatory for taxi drivers and can be replaced with white plates.

The taxi drivers claim that after the law was adopted many of them returned their yellow license plates, while others did not; however, the law has not been applied. As a result, those who kept their yellow plates have an advantage because customers prefer them, believing them to be legitimate taxi services; meanwhile, the yellow plates should've been removed from circulation by now. 

The drivers are asking state agencies to decide as soon as possible whether the yellow plates will remain or not. 

"We are working at a loss, and this can't continue. Several years ago, we were obliged to get yellow plates and we did. Today, the public knows if the car has yellow plates then it's legitimate. Now, half are yellow; half are white. People became accustomed to the yellow: they seem them from afar and stop cars with yellow plates," said one of the drivers.

An hour and a half after Wednesday's protest began, RA Ministry of Transport and Communication representative Davit Melkonyan arrived to speak with the drivers. He said the yellow plates will no longer be in operation; they will be removed after parliament adopts the new law. 

Dissatisfied by this response, the drivers countered that this same parliament didn't waste a second to raise MPs' salaries and "they adopt laws favorable to them with the same willingness." 

"We have been working on an unequal playing field for 1.5 years; it's no longer possible [to continue like this]; the bank is squeezing us, the debts are increasing. Actually, what is so unusual? People are asking to apply the existing law, and the state is surprised. Be kind: reply to us within a week instead of saying wait until October, or I don't know what," concluded one of the drivers.