Representatives from the tourism industry and local taxi owners lined up at the Transport Director’s office on Monday to demand the prising out of the lone app based taxi service in Goa from the rented transport ecosystem.
Nilesh Shah President TTAG was said there was an absence of political will to take the taxi drivers on. The government, he said, had to act tough. He said no more than 300-400 local. Operators were holding the state to ransom. He felt it was high time the government promoted digital apps to ensure the customers had a choice with regards to selecting their mode of transport.
“We had talked to the tourism minister a long time ago about these apps and he had said it would stay. We want the taxi meters to be implemented immediately. We would like more and more digital apps. This is the only way this menace will come to an end”, he added.
Two years ago, the app-based taxi service, GoaMiles, made its entry into the state with hand holding by Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC). The dominant North Goa Tourist Taxi Owners Association (NGTTOA), along with other bodies of taxi owners in the state, made it clear that they were opposed to their entry, a stand that remains unchanged till date.
Continued strained relations between the GoaMiles and other tourist taxis have been cause of recurring flare-ups.
President of Small and Medium Owners Association , Serrafin Cotta said the government was divided into two with some who listen to the taxi drivers and the others who don’t. He said it was important for the government to decide what kind of tourism they wanted in the state.
He said if one could for a second assume the taxi drivers were right then in that case why can’t the government solve the problem in their favour. Speaking specifically about the taxi app he felt the government ought to take the taxi people into confidence and ensure an Goan app is developed and make them run the show.
Jacob John of Vibrant Hospitality Services a consulting firm in the hospitality industry and has been part of the industry in Goa for well over a decade. He said “I personally feel that we should have a single norm for the country when it comes to public transport and that initiative has to be done by the government of the day. Ultimately an app will help facilitate better facilities for the modern day traveller. It is important to have transparency in rates. This should be the standard operating procedure for each and every taxi driver.”
Aloo Gomes, a veteran in the field shared his thoughts on this matter. He said “Nobody wants to hurt them. They are pushing their luck and the government is allowing them. You have to be firm. We need to have a policy. Who are these taxi drivers to say those people cannot be allowed to conduct business. I have never heard anything like this in any other part of the world. Why no meters, only Goa seems to have problems with meters. If there is a policy then follow it. You need a strong government, they made the policy. At least follow what you made. Is Goa miles breaking any law? They are not. They should be free to conduct business”.