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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Stop the taxi monopoly now

It is time the government puts an end to the monopoly of the taxi associations objecting to any new measures for travel introduced at the airport terminal

Story: Tome | I. | 10th August 2018, 02:20 Hrs

Goa is a major tourist destination with both national as well as international tourists visiting the State all year round. The expectation of the tourists is that Goa is just a great place with the sea and natural beauty it has to offer. 

Besides tourists look at Goa at a place where the culture is comparatively different compared to the other States and people have the freedom to wear western clothing and move around without much fear as compared to other states. 

Goa also has a variety of food for every person from vegetarian to non-vegetarian and not forgetting the cheap liquor the State has to offer which many a tourist come to enjoy.  

On an average there are nearly a hundred domestic and international flights landing at Goa with almost 10 million tourists visiting the state each year. 

But the welcome tourists get upon landing at Goa’s Dabolim airport is pathetic.

Majority of the tourists have no alternative but to avail of the taxi services to get to their destinations. 

There is no public transport available to take passengers to any of the major towns and tourists are left solely at the mercy of the taxis and their exorbitant fares to proceed on their onward 

journey.   

As a result, tourists visiting the state seriously feel the pinch of having to pay the price for taxi services. 

Most metros in the country have welcomed the introduction of Uber or Ola cab services  which are not only a cheaper form of transport as compared to the fares charged by the taxis at the Goa airport but also more comfortable.  

The Black and Yellow taxi as well as the Tourist Taxis backed by local politicians do not permit the introduction of any other form of transport for the tourist landing at Dabolim to travel to their respective destinations. 

If any attempt is made to introduce any alternate service for travel from the airport to fairly compete with the existing services, then there is strong opposition. Most countries have their airports connected to public transport be it metro rail, bus or tram along with the taxis services. 

Cities like Mumbai have the advantage of even getting a rickshaw just outside the airport terminal. 

Bangalore has bus services from the Airport to the various destinations in the city.  Bangalore also has rickshaws linked to Ola and Uber and even for a single traveller there is also motorcycle service provided online. 

It is time that Goa government puts an end to the monopoly of the Black and Yellow taxis  and  the tourist taxis who are objecting to any new measures for travel being introduced at the airport terminal. 

There was a time when Kadamba Bus service was introduced to pick and drop passengers from the main towns to the airport and back. Air India and Indian Airlines used to have a bus service from Panjim to the airport for the benefit of travellers. 

All these services no doubt have stopped to facilitate the taxi unions. 

Almost all starred hotels in Goa have a taxi service operating outside their gates and the taxi drivers dominate the service by not permitting any other taxi or private car to pick guests residing at such hotels other than their own. 

Many of the tourist buses of travel agents have been attacked for picking up their guests by their own transport. 

Both guests as well as agencies in the travel business desire to pick and drop guests by their own arranged mode of transport as most tourist arrive by pre-booking their hotels as well as their sightseeing. 

Any tourist who desires to get to his destination from the Goa airport has no option but to avail the taxi service even though every person in normal circumstances would look for any other cheaper mode of  transport.

It is time our taxi operators realize that with technological changes and other modes of services they cannot and should not monopolize their trade to victimize citizens. Services like Ola, Uber, Rent a car are the need of the hour. 

Politicians cannot perpetually look at every issue from the perspective of votes and vote banks. 

It’s time both the politicians and taxi unions allow healthy competition. Taxi drivers can be a part of the Uber and Ola services.  

There is also a substantial amount earned through such services which could be even more then what is normally earned by waiting for trips at airports and other terminals.  

Eventually government will have to come down heavily on the  taxi owners for their refusal  to allow healthy competition. 

The new Mopa Airport should at the beginning itself  start with such services rather then bring in any Black and Yellow taxi or tourist taxi services.

Better sense should prevail and taxi owners should join the new services before they lose out in the bargain.

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