But getting them into the country will now be a much costlier affair. A vox pop in Batumi
We surveyed people in the streets of Batumi, and the question we put to them was one that had been bitterly debated in Georgian social media and on public transport for a whole year:
“Should right-hand-drive vehicles be banned in Georgia?”
And just as we were preparing to publish the poll findings, a decision finally came through, ending the tug of war between the government and society. The RHD cars, the government has announced, won’t be banned.
Reasoning against the cars has run along several lines.
Mayor of Tbilisi David Narmania said: “Right-hand-drive vehicles hamper the traffic.”
“Unless they are banned, they will become too many too soon, making it necessary for us to come up with new traffic rules,” deputy minister of interior Shalva Khutsishvili said.
Now, a compromise appears to have been found.
“The government put the issue on the table, and the parliament approved amendments to the tax code that increase the customs clearance costs [for RHD cars],” deputy minister of interior Shalva Khutsishvili said at a press conference in Tbilisi on February 17. “This should help neutralize the risks resulting from the growth in the number of right-hand-drive vehicles. This is to say we are not seeking a tough approach.”
The clearance of RHD cars is now increasing trifold.