22 Sep 2020  |   03:59am IST

Shouldn’t regulated taxis with meters and apps also be the new normal?

Unlock 4 may not be bringing in hordes of tourist but Goa is certainly attracting those who wish to stay for four to six months renting paces and working from “home’. Meanwhile, some charters are expected to arrive too. In the times of the new normal, many ask if it’s fair for Goa’s not so famed taxi service providers not to adhere to app-based booking, digital payments and metered taxis. For too long, these essentials have been sacrificed to the detriment of our guests. However, there are responsible people among taxi drivers who want guests to be treated fairly, but ask that the system should be fair to them too. Café speaks to important stakeholders
Shouldn’t regulated taxis with meters and apps also be the new normal?

Ajit John

It is a very tough situation.  AN app-based service was launched but its drivers were targeted. We have faced problems in the south in places like Varca where taxi drivers don’t want to pick up tourists early in the morning or late at night. They don’t allow us, tourist operators, to bring our transport to hotels. I think it is very important that whatever steps are initiated include the local taxi drivers. There are too many taxis and almost everyone staying here has a bike or a car. The population density is not that great. This has meant they are focused on the tourist trade charging ridiculous fares. Perhaps it is time the number of taxis is reduced to restore some sanity. This problem has to be sorted out - Prashant Maurya Veteran Travel Professional

Then there is the problem between the north and the south. I think it is time to introduce some semblance of order in the system. We need meters or options to pre-pay and pay rates that make sense. I once had to pay Rs 700 for 2 km because I landed at night. This is affecting business slowly and more and more people are talking about it. I believe however that whatever option is presented should involve the local community to ensure they cooperate and to also guarantee they don’t feel left out - Shraddha Rangnekar, Travel Sector Professional

We are the first who face the tourists see when they come out of the airport. We behave very well with them and they usually have nice things to say about us. The pandemic has been very bad and now this plan if it promises a fair deal will be fine. People think we are charging too much but the cost of petrol, the payment of EMIs have all to be considered. It is tough and we are charging what is fair - Shailesh Halarnkar Taxi Driver

I strongly believe the app-based service started was a better option. The meter as an idea is outdated. On the GPS gives you comfort. This fear of being cheated by taxi drivers taking the long route will come to an end. Some taxi drivers are opposed to it because they feel the customer will work out the exact cost charged per km. I, however, believe that for us based in the south the rates have to be increased because it is very difficult to get even two clients in a day unlike those close to the airport or those in the north. The south is not a hub and the resorts are at some distance - Sidesh  Kholkar travel agency owner

I think this is a problem that needs to be tackled with sensitivity. One cannot ignore the plight of the driver’s family who are facing a tough time. The government will have to move ahead thinking of all the parties. Yes the rates being charged make no sense and I can say also say that if attempts are being made to install meters in cars it will not work. Consultation is important. That is the only way forward - Ashwini Krishna, Rural & Eco Tourism campaigner

I think we have to involve the local taxi drivers. It has to be made sure you cannot disenfranchise the local taxi drivers. A solution has to be worked where everyone is satisfied.   That is the only way forward - Pooja Rani Curator, Customised Outdoor adventures

We want meters but it is should be as per the official gazette of 2014. You have to understand the price of diesel has increased and we have purchased high-end cars and have to pay EMI’s. We would like the taxi rates put up all over the place so that people know that what we quote is as per our agreement. There should also be a helpline so that passengers can complain if a driver misbehaves. We are considered the brand managers of Goa tourism and our service has been good. This is possibly the last business where the locals are present and would like to continue. All I am saying is be fair - Roque Fernandes, Taxi driver  


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