Times of India seems to be running a tirade against the taxi drivers….with everyday bringing at least 2 articles against the…..is there no other news in Goa at all?
In Goa, tourists and locals alike are forced to rely on either their familiarity with a taxi operator, or to hire the first, visible cab. With taxi operators in the state not allowing app-based cab services like Ola and Uber to enter the market, there is no other way to book your ride.
This system allows taxi owners to park in city lots, in the arrival and departure zones of the Goa international airport at Dabolim, outside resorts and any other territory they choose. Those looking for a cab, therefore, are usually left with no other option but to hire the taxi in sight.
And its not only tourists, but also locals, who have no other mode of booking a taxi, specially at odd hours. This allows taxi operators to dictate the terms, and the fares. Transport department officials themselves admit that there is no mechanism in place to keep a check on taxi operators who overcharge passengers.
Taxi owners occupying precious parking spaces in cities is yet another issue citizens are left to deal with.
“As per the permits issued, taxi drivers either need to have their own office to operate from or should operate from their homes. Otherwise, they can operate from a parking space leased out to them,” a state transport official said. Yet, taxi owners habitually park their vehicles where they wish, claiming that the terms of the permit themselves are faulty and they need to be visible if tourists are to approach them.
“As of now, we have never paid any rent for parking our vehicles,” member of the North Goa Tourist Taxi Association, Ravindra Vengurlekar, admits.
The ambiguity surrounding designated places for taxis to operate from results in the ugly, territorial clashes that Goa has been witnessing from time to time.
Cab operators, however, don’t seem to be concerned about the inconvenience caused to locals and tourists, who have to make do without a system that enables one to hire a cab at any hour through a simple phone call and sans any contacts with local cab owners.
Taxi owners have their own litany of complaints to counter the need for app- or internet-based, transparent cab services in Goa.
“The major problems faced by taxi operators are that agencies, which either own or have several vehicles registered with them, tend to take away the business of small-time taxi owners. Foreigners, too, operate taxi services with the help of some locals and this makes it extremely difficult to tame the illegality as they are not directly involved. Operating taxi businesses by agencies via the Internet without a physical presence, eats into the business of local service providers,” one taxi owner said.