‘Local taxis not used for international events’

South Goa Tourists Taxi Owners Association has pooh-poohed the government claim that locals benefit from the international events Goa hosted in the recent past in South Goa stating that hardly any local cars were used for the mega events.

“No local tourists taxis including the luxury ones, was used for Lusofonia Games. Very few local cabs were used for DefExpo and BRICS summit. This is the treatment being given to the local stakeholders,” charged Roque Fernandes, secretary of South Goa Tourists Taxi Owners Association.

He told TOI that for international events, instead of locals benefiting, vehicles are leased from Karnataka, Maharashtra and for BRICS event, even from Delhi.

Stating that they are self-employed, Fernandes said because of the failure of the government to fulfill the demands of the taxi operators, the tourist taxi operators hardly get any business. He said one cannot compare the fare and business in Goa to any metro.

“In any state, shouldn’t the locals get a piece of the tourism cake?” he questioned pointing out that tourist taxi operators are being targetted only to help the star hotel lobby which he alleged are charging high fare for foreigners. “Our members don’t have a fleet of cars. From just one vehicle, we’ve to make a living,” he said.

 Even the tax paid by the tourist taxi operator is as high as 16,800 per annum for inter-state licence but the neighbouring state of Karnataka charges hardly 318 for their cabs.

Centre for Responsible Tourism that works closely with taxi unions on various issues in North and South Goa, said they have repeatedly been asking the government to display taxi rates in all hotel lobbies and at taxi stands but they aren’t doing this.

 “Seventy percent of their issues will be resolved if this is done,” said a core committee member Fr Savio Fernandes.
“The all inclusive packages arranged for foreign tourists also include Goa tours where each tourist is charged up to 60 per day. This issue isn’t being addressed. Where installing metres are concerned, there hasn’t been a healthy dialogue with them about it. They are not happy with the price of the meters and feel these should be given to them at a subsidized rate,” he told TOI.