Over 17,000 Taxi Drivers Left Unemployed After New Regulations Take Effect

Over 17,000 Taxi Drivers Left Unemployed After New Regulations Take Effect

On July 1, new regulations governing taxi operations came into force in Azerbaijan. Under these rules, vehicles older than eight years will no longer receive a driver’s card. Additionally, all vehicles requiring a license card after this date must be either white or red if they were imported or manufactured after July 1, 2024.

Legal entities and private entrepreneurs without the required permission, as well as operators issuing orders to unauthorized drivers, will face administrative penalties according to Azerbaijan's Code of Administrative Offenses. These provisions are part of the "Requirements for the technical parameters, interior, and exterior appearance of vehicles used for regular passenger transport and taxi services," approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on March 28.

Vehicles used for regular intercity passenger transport must be white, while those for intracity routes must be red. Electric vehicles used for both regular intercity and intracity transport must be green. Taxis must also be equipped with video cameras with memory cards capable of storing information for at least one month.

According to the Ministry of Digital Development and Transport, there were 28,000 taxi drivers in the capital before the new regulations took effect. As of July 1, only 11,696 drivers nationwide received permission to work as taxi drivers. This means more than 17,000 drivers lost their jobs due to the new rules.

Observers suggest that these measures indicate an attempt by the government to monopolize the taxi market, potentially benefiting high-ranking officials. This opinion is reinforced by the lack of social protection measures for those employed in the taxi industry. Additionally, the government ignored experts' recommendations to replace all taxis with electric vehicles ahead of COP29, which could have demonstrated a commitment to improving the climate.

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