Today, a group of individual taxi drivers (not employed by companies) gathered in front of the government building protesting a new law that came into effect on February 1, which states that individual taxi drivers have to receive a special license and pay 12,000 AMD ($25) a month to the state budget.
The taxi drivers claim that the special license will cost close to 50,000 AMD ($105) to obtain, because they have to present proof of installation for their gas system (gas balloon), taxi identification, advertisement (which needs to include the driver’s number and tariff), and the vehicle must have a taximeter.
The Minister of Transportation and Communications Gagik Beglaryan approached the protesters and said that he can not delay the law anymore, because it had to come into effect two years ago, but it had been delayed already.
The drivers, however, say that many things have changed during the past two years and that 12,000 AMD is impossible to pay. During the past two years, delineated parking spots (red lines) have been added (which cost money), mandatory insurance, cameras photographing violations fixed across the city, increased prices of spare car parts, increased gas prices, and that there are simply less people to take taxis. According to the new law, drivers without a special license will be fined 50,000 AMD, driving without a meter or taxi identification, they will be fined 25,000 ($52) or 10,000 ($21) accordingly.
According to the taxi drivers, they asked the Minister to drop the 12,000 AMD monthly payment to 5,000 AMD, however Gagik Beglaryan said that the law would function the way it is written. The Minister promised that first time offenders of the law would not be fined, but warned.