Panjim, Jan 8: The Women’s Taxi Service introduced in Goa since October 2014 is an initiative of the Goa Tourism Development Corporation Limited (GTDC) and one of the many new tourism services launched for the benefit of visiting tourists, especially women from India and abroad. Safety, security and efficiency is the mantra of the Women Taxi Service and its success has spread across the globe by word-of-mouth through clientele who have availed these services.
The allegations made by the Centre for Responsible Tourism are baseless and attempts to malign GTDC and its private service provider. The GTDC strongly believes that this is the handiwork of certain lobbies envious over the success of the Women Taxi Service and slams the CRT for making irresponsible statements. It has cast doubts on whether the CRT is really championing the cause of responsible tourism. The GTDC strongly backs the Green Earth Trans Logistics Pvt. Ltd and its staff for the yeomen services being provided to women tourists in Goa.
The GTDC has countered all allegations made by the CRT reiterating that the contracting agency has been providing efficient and excellent service from the day of its launch till date. The GTDC selected Green Earth Trans Logistics Pvt. Ltd. through a transparent tendering process and the letter of intent was handed over to the successful bidder on August 13, 2014. This is the process followed by GTDC for all its joint venture projects with private agencies. “This is the process which has been followed in the past, in the present and for the future as well,” said GTDC Chairman Shri. Nilesh Cabral. The GTDC does not invest in any form other than providing logistical support, marketing, promotion and requisite permissions.
The company selected for Women Taxi Services is qualified in providing taxi services, road safety, transportation and other logistics under the terms and conditions prescribed by the GTDC in the contract. Appointment letters have been given to all employees under the Women Taxi Service and salaries paid as specified in the appointment letters.
All the vehicles are fitted with GPS tracking devises and vehicles can be immobilized from the control room in case of any emergencies. For communication purpose, the vehicles have a centralized communication systems connected to the control room where at the press of a button the travel hostesses can contact the control room for two way communication.
All candidates serving as travel hostesses have been trained with skills in self-defense. They have also been provided with cans of pepper spray as an additional measure. There has been no violation in the primary condition of transporting women passengers. At no given time have male customers been catered to except when women passengers travel with their families.
There is adequate record to show that there have been no night trips conducted after 8.00 pm. In the event of a trip extending beyond scheduled working time, the travel hostesses are allowed to take the vehicle home and evidence is available to prove this from GPS reports. Training has been provided in first aid by the Indian Red Cross Society and certificates are available for scrutiny. Training in mannerisms and etiquettes have also been provided by Trade Wings and Karate Sports Club of Goa.
As far as meters are concerned, they have been certified by The Weights and Measures Department, Govt. Of Goa and checked by the Directorate of Transport, Govt. Of Goa, only after which permissions were accorded to the agency to ply the vehicles. The fares charged are as per the electronic meter readings and travel hostesses deposit the amount collected to the office account based on the readings and fare chart.
As far as salaries are concerned, those on training are paid a stipend of Rs 6,000. On completion of training and induction as permanent staff, salary of Rs 15,000 is paid as specified in the appointment letter. The appointment letter makes no provision for overtime. Appointment letters have been provided to all the qualified candidates after successfully completing the training and induction process. Regarding payments from clientele, presently payments are done through cash and account transfers. Regarding credit card payments, the mechanisms are being worked out keeping in mind the safety of the transactions and will be introduced in the next phase.
The monitoring of the cab is being done through the control room as well as on mobile apps by the management. Prominent display of emergency contact numbers have been informed to each and every travel hostess and print outs also given. Right from the time employment has been given to all the travel hostesses, only one has been terminated on account of gross misconduct and violent behavior at the office. There is no harassment inflicted on the travel hostesses. All employees who are working as travel hostesses have a badge.
There is no question of any falsification related to the employee as the management has never claimed that the appointment as travel hostesses is on GTDC or government t payrolls. This is a GTDC initiative and the employees have been appointed by Green Earth Trans Logistics Pvt. Ltd. All the travel hostesses have the privilege of using the GTDC residencies for parking their vehicles and using the lobbies for resting and access to clock room facilities.
As far as the demands made, the management states that the employees are governed by the rules of employment as specified in the appointment letter. The GTDC is however working on a new revenue sharing model with the travel hostesses where they will be self employed with a share in total revenue earned, in addition to their fixed income. The GTDC Chairman, Shri. Nilesh Cabral said, “Any issue brought to the notice of the GTDC is sorted out and dialogues are on to resolve certain matters brought to the attention of the Corporation.”
Shri. Cabral said, “However indiscipline of any sort in the execution of the taxi services will not be accepted and action deemed fit will be taken.” Shri Cabral further said that the CRT should have co-ordinated with the GTDC on this matter rather than allowing itself to be misguided by certain elements who have failed to perform in their duties and responsibilities towards improving tourism services in Goa.