Following the lot of opposition to an App-Based Taxi Services like Ola and Uber, Goa Tourism in association with a private player had managed to launch the Goa’s first App-based taxi service called ‘Goa Miles’ in the state. The sources in the Tourism department have quoted that prior to the launch of APP, more than 6000 downloads were recorded from the Google Play store and Apple App Store. Despite all the efforts, it looks like the App based taxi service did not come as a good news for the local taxi operators in the state. What is the ‘Goa Miles’ App is all about and how practical it is for the small state like Goa? Let us take a close look at the repercussions of the App-Based Taxi Service across Goa.
Goa’s first mobile app-based taxi service was introduced on 7 August by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar in presence of Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar, Nilesh Cabral and other dignitaries in the Secretariat, Porvorim. The app-based taxi service is introduced in a bid to provide good services to the people and the taxi operators. Even before launching the app, 6000 downloads have been recorded from the Google play store and Apple store. The app which is called as GOA MILES has registered 350 cabs out of which 160 have already been booked.
Goa is the only state where the taxis run without a meter. This has been reported and complained by the tourists who come to visit the state and face the menace created by the taxi drivers. On many occasions, tourists have been mistreated by the cab operators and drivers and have been rudely behaved with them. Moreover, the South Goa tourist taxi Association has opposed the app taxi service which they think will endanger the livelihood of the taxi drivers.
What Government says?
According to the Tourism Minister, the app will bring a revolutionary change in the state of Goa. It will also curb the menace created by the taxi drivers of overcharging the tourists and foreigners alike. The installation of the meter will regulate speed control and punish the drivers who drink and drive. The App allows you to choose the car of your choice for pick up and drop service with prices starting from Rs.20-80. To the prevent taxi drivers from overcharging the fare, the app has features which will show you the amount you have to pay before the journey begins and all the prices are approved by the government. The GTDC also aims to improve and add more taxis to the app so that the locals can also avail the taxi service and decline the number of vehicles on the road.
What Do Taxi Operators/drivers say?
The South Goa tourist Taxi operators association has firmly opposed the launch of the app saying that it will benefit only a few individuals. They said that the app was launched without taking into the consideration the needs and interests of the taxi operators. The 20,000 taxi operators who are dependent on the taxi business said that app-based taxi service will deteriorate their means of livelihood. The taxi union has said that the App based taxis should be careful and not interfere with the taxi operators or disturb the prevailing peace among the taxi operators. They further said that the introduction of the app will bring in OLA and UBER taxi services in Goa making the air-conditioned taxi operators difficult to the follow the tariff structure of the same. They have put forward their request to the Chief Minister to reconsider the decision and stand in support of the taxi operators to protect their needs and interests.
The Present Scenario
At the launch of the App based taxi service in Goa, 25 taxi operators who were supposed to work under the GTDC have expressed their discontentment to engage with the app. According to the reports by The Times of India, the Mormugao Taxi Union member Sarvash Chowgule has said that they do not wish work with the App based taxi service. “We were under the impression that we will get to operate from the Airport counter with GTDC”, he said.
About the ‘Goa Miles’ App
GOA MILES is managed by the local Goan Company for the purpose of catering to the needs of tourists and providing better services to the people. The tourism minister has assured that the App based taxi service is introduced not to challenge other businesses but to involve them in the work so that the transport in Goa provides better service to the passengers and improve the reputation of the taxi service in Goa.
Benefits For the commuters
The cost of the travel will be less, the government approved and the private taxi operators won’t be able to overcharge the passengers.
Rideshare option available
Security of the consumers will take care of
Partygoers can avoid drinking and driving and can avail of the service.
Reduces the use of personal vehicles thus diminishing the parking problem in cities.
If harassed or mistreated by the drivers, a commuter can complain through the app.
Panic-cum-emergency button on the app
Benefits For the taxi operators
The income of the taxi drivers will increase by 2-3 times
Multiple taxis can be controlled from one account
Find a business near driver location so every driver earns
Income report in the mobile app itself can be used for tax, insurance purpose
Despite the protests and the agitation from the black and yellow taxi operators, the app is expected to function smoothly with proper instructions to the driver to follow the dress code, prevent drinking and driving and provide a comfortable and fair journey to the commuters.
Goa Prism’s Take on App Based Taxi Service in Goa
Goa being a small state, App-based taxi service may not be the solution, as it will create lot of problems for the small time taxi operators. The App based Taxi Service requires a huge volume of business to survive, and that depends upon the total population. The population of Goa is around 2.5 million, and most of them have their own conveyance while very few make use the public transport. The tourists may be the only source of income for the taxi operators, who are already struggling to survive in a very competitive environment, and the entry of App-based service will only lead to further hampering of their business.
Goa, unlike the metro cities, is a major tourism destination, and the tourists do not come to Goa for business, hence just like many holiday destinations, the costs of living is very high in the state. Taking into the consideration all these, the App based Taxi Service will work in the state, but it will not run for a long time keeping the costs low. The taxi operators in Goa are used to make quick bucks just like any other tourism stakeholders in the state, and changing that will be next to impossible.
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