25 Feb 2021  |   03:59am IST

Tourist cabbies have to coexist with app based taxis in Goa, say tourism captains

On Monday, local taxi owners went in large numbers to meet the Director Transport to get the local app based Goa Miles out of business. Goa’s tourism stakeholders opine that confrontation cannot replace coexistence in tourist dependent Goa. But they are all for letting the locals run any app based service
Tourist cabbies have to coexist with app based taxis in Goa, say tourism captains

 Voices from the tourism industry have reacted to yet another attempt by the local tourist taxi operators to line 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 eco system. 

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 said 

Serrafin Cotta, President of Small and Medium Owners Association 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. 

This is a problem that has bedeviled the industry for several years. The range of views expressed is pretty diverse. 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 traveler. It is important to have transparency in rates. This should be the standard operating procedure for each and every taxi driver.” 

Another veteran of the industry, Aloo Gomes Pereira asked a simple question as to who would bell the proverbial cat. 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”. 

Perhaps the best response came from a long time resident in the state who also did not want to come on record when he said that too many people had gotten used to operating in a certain style and were now just not willing to change. 

Ultimately market needs and economic dynamics have to pave the way for amicable decision making.