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Are taxi drivers denting the image of Goa?

Every week there’s one or the opinion or incident reported by the tourists visiting Goa who had a bad experience with the taxi drivers here. A few weeks back there was another incident, where a person who is a MD and CEO of a well-known hotel chain based in Mumbai, expressed his views and the incident that took place with him and his family members, again regarding the taxi drivers in Goa. He also pleaded with the Goa government and the tourism department to pay attention to such issues before it becomes a real deal breaker for the state. Recently, according to a source, another incident has come to light where a tourist from Bangalore sent his view on the taxi drivers in Goa.

[su_expand more_text=”READ MORE” less_text=” ” height=”0″ hide_less=”yes” link_style=”button” link_align=”center”]It is my perception that most of the tourist taxi drivers in Goa, especially in the coastal belt, misbehave with visitors and often insult using filthy words if some queries are raised. In absence of digital meters and proper fare charts, tourists always feel cheated by the taxi drivers.

Whenever visitors come to Goa, they depend upon tourist taxis to visit places. The drivers often charge exorbitant amount in clear violation of the journey rules. If the visitors ask them to provide the details about the fare structure, they get in return only insults and that too, in presence of their family members.

The drivers are so adamant that they do not even bother if the occupants are women or elderly persons. Tourists feel ashamed of themselves when they are exposed to abusive language in front of their family elders.

My family members always tell me to stay away from such dishonest drivers as they may resort to even to fights. The transport and tourism ministers of the state are aware of these developments besides the police department. But I do not know why they remain mere silent spectators.

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If they can’t act, then it is their duty to stop all the campaigns aimed at wooing the tourists as it is a burden on state exchequer. The government is spending crores of rupees on campaigns, but has completely failed to handle and control the taxi drivers’ lobby. I have heard that most of these taxi drivers are either close to politicians or they enjoy political patronage.

Ill-treatment to tourists by taxi drivers is hotly debated by media channels across the country. This has given a very bad image to Goa. The news will soon spread like wildfire, which is not a conducive development for the state.

In Goa, whether it is a taxi driver, a motorcycle pilot or rickshaw driver; all charge fare for onward/return journeys even if the visitor destined only for an onward journey. To cite an example, the distance between Panaji and Colva resort is approximately 55km. A single onward journey fare should consider only 55km, but the taxi drivers charge fare for 110km which includes the return journey fare.

As per the RTO rules, a person can be charged only for the distance which he covers and not for the return journey of the driver/operator. It is only in Goa that operators apply charges for return journeys. A strange system existing only in Goa.

These taxi drivers should visit places like Mumbai and ascertain themselves how the digital meter system works. Fare charges include only the distance covered by the occupants and not the return journey of the operator.

The tax structure is progressive and fuel cheap in Goa, but they charge exorbitant fares, almost double.

Whenever we come to Goa, our friends and relatives offer their private cars for us to use. But the taxi drivers’ does not allow us to use the same and damage the cars. This is unacceptable. Why should we use taxi services paying exorbitant amount? Even hotel owners are also involved in this illegality, which the taxi drivers feel a monopolistic situation.

We feel very bad when exposed to such ill-treatment meted out to us by the taxi drivers. This has dented the image of Goa. We tell most of the tourists to shun Goa and have a memorable sojourn in other better places in India. What is cheap in Goa is liquor, the only advantage for the tourists.

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