New year’s celebration for the foreign tourists coming to Goa ended with the fleecing by the taxi operators at Dabolim airport. According to the sources, one of the British tourists had complained of getting fleeced by the taxi operator to the tune of Rs. 3000 (35 pounds) for the trip from Dabolim to Calangute. Tourist also claimed that he had no option but to listen to the taxi operator to avoid spoiling his vacation in Goa.
Taxi operators and rent a bike people have always been the controversy over the fleecing of tourists coming to Goa thereby giving the bad name to the state. But the incident that happened with the British tourist was most shocking. According to the sources, one of the British budget tourist, Benjamin Thomas who landed at the Dabolim airport has been misguided by the tourist taxi operator and been forced to take his cab and asked to pay in pounds instead of rupees. According to Thomas the taxi operator charged him 35 pounds (Rs. 3000 approx) for the trip from Dabolim to Calangute.
According to the sources, it was the news year’s time and many budget tourists were landing on the Goa airport for spending some quality time in the season which included Christmas and New year celebration. Two of them from London walked towards the outsourced baggage handling agency which was supposed to proved them a ride to their hotel. But shockingly at the exit of the airport bunch of taxi operators appeared and started manhandling the tourists.
One of them pushed the tourists towards the parked taxis and also scared them (tourists) saying that the journey by bus is not safe and it could take up to three hours to reach the destination. Benjamin Thomas, who had a quick chat with Herald at the airport, said that the six taxi men surrounded him and said that to Calangute 35 pounds is the best price (Rs 3000). “I didn’t want my Goa holiday to be a disaster and took the deal though I knew I was being completely cheated,” Thomas says before he was forced into the taxi, almost kidnapped, and driven away.
In yet another case, Ameet Naik, a Goan, returning from a short vacation in the North East had to pay Rs. 1200 for the trip from Dabolim to Margao on December 25. With fewer taxis in sight, he was told by the black and yellow taxi operators that were the best price he could get since the taxis have decided not to queue up at the pre-paid counter and make a direct deal with tourists outside the airport. The helpless Goan was also conned into the deal.
Meanwhile, instead of feeling sorry over the misconduct of their fellowmen the South Goa Taxi Association members said that, everybody is overcharging from the fight to hotels in the season time and what is wrong in their making money from the tourists who spends. Despite tourists stating that they can see what’s on offer in a hotel or flight deal, the taxi operators refuse to budge. “I recently walked a mile from Arpora and took a taxi to Benaulim. I walked away because the taxi guys were harassing me. The taxi owner who told me his name was Gaurish and refused to use any meter or pricing chart. To my shock, the taxi guy abruptly terminated my journey at KTC Bus Stand Margao, well short of Benaulim and said that beyond that is not his turf, and I will have to change taxis which was another Rs 750 for 9 km,” says Dheeraj Jaidev, a software engineer who was in Goa on New Year’s eve.
He also added that friends at Benaulim were threatened to return their rented scooters or the bikes would be thrashed. The car and bike rentals also hiked their rates with bikes being rent out for Rs 1200 a day on New Year’s eve compared to Rs 250 per day.