Many Georgians are fuming at the appearance of bright yellow Russian taxis on the streets of Tbilisi. Yandex Taxi started operating in Georgia on 23 August. The Russian company runs bright yellow taxis that are a familiar site in many Russian cities. But in Georgia Yandex is accused of displaying maps on its website that show Georgia less the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Russian government in 2008 recognised Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent and no longer part of Georgia
The Head of the Roads and Highways Transportation Association, David Meskhishvili, protested against the entry of the taxi company into the Georgian market accusing Yandex of recognising the secession of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Georgia.
Meskhishvili also said that in Soviet times taxi drivers were spies, and thinks Russians keep the same practice.
He also said that the taxi market in Tbilisi was already over saturated. Meskhishvili pointed a finger at Georgia's Economy Ministry, accusing it of not caring about Georgia's territorial integrity. The Ministry said it will review the matter but that all companies operating in Georgia had to abide by Georgian law and respect Georgia' territorial integrity. Never one to miss a pulse the Georgian Labour Party joined the debate on Thursday calling on Georgians to boycott the taxi firm. Yandex has denied all accusations.
photo: A yellow Yandex taxi (picture courtesy of Interpress news).