Hard ride so far: What does solving the taxi issue mean?
Story: The | Goan | 13th November 2017, 02:04 Hrs
MAPUSA: The taxi saga that is afflicting Goa has been some time in the making. While consecutive governments have promised to ‘solve the issue' what does solving the taxi issue mean?
The answer to that lies in what the various players in the battle would consider a ‘solution', the only common ground being that none of the existing stakeholders being fully satisfied with the status quo.
While speaking to The Goan, Calangute MLA Michael Lobo said that the government was "committed to solve the issue" by doing "whatever needs to be done", Nilesh Cabral has suggested that many of the issues will solve by itself if the taxi operators install and implement meters totally.
However, a common consensus is building that the installing and implementing of taximeters for tourist taxis has to be the first step in this direction.
The first lot and the most vocal lot of the current stakeholders includes the taxi operators. They have, on record, admitted to overcharging, but say they are doing so simply because various other tourism industry players also do so, using hotels as an example. For them a solution would involve rounding up illegal operators including private cars being used as taxis as well as car rentals, something which is a logistical nightmare to enforce through, but could automatically reduce if taxi operators started following meters.
On the other side of the fence are two stakeholders -- the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa an industry collective of hoteliers and travel agents and operators who have approached the High Court with their only grouse being that the overcharging and rude taxi operators are bringing a bad name to Goa as a tourism destination while threatening to wreck the entire industry.
A similar stand is taken by the third group of stakeholders ‘Citizens for Change' who by and large represent the local commuter in Goa and who are demanding besides taxi meters, are also seeking the government permit app based cab aggregators for the convenience and reliability they offer.
A fourth group of persons is the rent-a-cab operators whose singular demand is that the government permit more of them to operate vehicles.
The taxi operators are against the other three demands on the singular ground that it will eat into their business of which they currently have a monopoly.
So what will a solution to the issue entail? Curchorem MLA and Chairman of the Goa Tourism Development Corporation when speaking to the Goan said that, to him, the moment the moment the taxis become tourist friendly that would be a ‘resolution of the issues.'
"The way forward should be tourist friendly. Whatever their (taxi operators) demands, they can be met. There are various propositions but the condition should be that the taxis should follow the meters," Cabral said. He added that he through the GTDC was willing to ensure that local taxis get business or possibly even compensation for business lost "provided they are willing to abide by the terms and conditions of the meters."
He said that if the taxis immediately start following the meter a lot of their demands will automatically met. "One of their demands is that the hotels and big businesses are running cabs. This is automatically stop. They are doing it only because of the overcharging cabs to ensure that their guests have a good experience. They have no interest in running cabs otherwise and the TTAG has told me they will stop," Cabral suggested.
He however said that he was fully agreed with the taxi operators demand that illegal taxis should be acted against and that he was "willing to join their protest over this issue."
He however cautioned that installing meters alone will not solve the issue. "If you remember, meters used to be installed in the past but there is a question of whether they will follow them. There has to be implementation," Cabral suggested.
Speaking of app aggregators Cabral said they were the need of the hour
"Goa needs to move forward like other cities and destinations across India and the world. You cannot go backward. Tourists also don't know whom to call when they need a taxi," Cabral said also offering his support to rent a car operators who have been petitioning the courts to secure licences for themselves.
IN THE BATTLE FIELD
For them a solution would involve rounding up illegal operators including private cars being used as taxis as well as car rentals, something which is a logistical nightmare to enforce through
Approached the High Court with their only grouse being that the overcharging and rude taxi operators are bringing a bad name to Goa while threatening to wreck the tourism industry
CITIZENS FOR CHANGE
Besides demanding taxi meters, they are also seeking the government permit app based cab aggregators for the convenience and reliability they offer
Their singular demand is that the government permit more of them to operate the business
THE SOLUTION: METERS!
There are various propositions but the condition should be that taxis should follow the meters----
- Nilesh Cabral,
Government is committed to solve the issue by doing whatever needs to be done
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