CALANGUTE: Members of the North Goa tourist taxi owners association (NGTTOA) have expressed skepticism about the new GoaMiles App introduced by Goa tourism development corporation (GTDC), reports the Times of India.
Speaking to TOI, the association’s vice-president, Ravindra Vengurlekar, said that there are going to be problems because of the existing ground reality, “which may even lead to violence”.
“There are hundreds of tourist taxis that function from the taxi stands outside hotels and resorts,” he said.
“In some places, there are as many as 40 taxis attached to a hotel. Guests have to use those taxis only. If a guest using the GTDC app calls a cab not belonging to that hotel’s taxi stand, then the operators attached to the hotel won’t allow the cabbie to pick up the guest.”
In a direct threat to the GoaMiles App taxi drivers, Vengurlekar said, “After all, it’s a question of their livelihood,” he said. “If the outside taxi operator insists on picking up the guest, he might even get beaten up.”
This was a clear indication that the North Goa tourist taxi owners association was planning to use violence and threats of physical harm to deter the App drivers from picking up guests from the hotels.
He further said that the app could be used by people at home to call a taxi to pick them up. “Then there is the question of return fare,”
Vengurlekar said. “If a guest uses the app to book a taxi to take him from Calangute to South Goa, it will have to return empty because taxi operators in South Goa won’t allow him to pick up customers.”
Vengurlekar also said that the association has maintained that only locals should benefit from the tourist taxi business in Goa.
“But this app is operated by a Pune-based company, who are outsiders,” he said. “It is not run by GTDC.”
Meanwhile, sources informed TOI that some taxi operators from Mapusa who used the app to pick up customers from Calangute were reportedly told to back to Mapusa and wait for their customers there.
The App drivers face a big problem of return fare. As the App operator, unlike Uber and Ola does not give the drivers a MG or minimum business guarantee per day, it will become impossible for the App drivers to operate as most locals use their own vehicles and 2-wheelers to commute within the State.