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Marshrutkas Overview

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Transit in Georgia between cities and towns can be a daunting task, especially for somebody who doesn’t understand the country’s marshrutkas, or minibuses. Marshrutkas are widely-used in former Soviet countries. They are a cross between a bus and a taxi in that there is a designated route but no designated stops, meaning at any point, a passenger can request the driver to let them off. To request a marshrutka driver to stop, say აქ გააჩერეთ! Ak gaacheret! Stop here!


Georgia has a well developed marshrutka system with large towns and cities having multiple marshrutka transit stations, called vagzali (ვაგზალი). Marshrutka transit areas work like a bus station and occasionally have a ticket office with typically fixed and inexpensive fares. Each marshrutka generally has a large sign (in Georgian, sometimes with English) in the windshield listing the origin and destination. To get to the smaller villages, you might be required to transfer marshrutkas at a larger town.

It is worth noting that marshrutka routes generally try to pass through as many populated areas as possible, so if there is more than one way to get from A to B, there is no guarantee the marshrutka will follow the shorter route

Many large towns and cities also use marshrutkas to supplement their bus system and sometimes en lieu of buses. These also have a route sign in the windshield, in this case listing the major points along the route. While these marshrutkas are numbered, these numbers DO NOT correspond to bus route numbers. Hailing one of these urban marshrutkas works much like hailing a taxicab—when you see a marshrutka approaching, check the route sign, and if you want to board the marshrutka, attempt to make eye contact with and wave at the driver. If you are ever in a small town without a vagzali, hailing a marshrutka works the same way (just find the main road through the town and wait for an appropriate marshrutka to pass; the driver will stop if there is room for you).

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