The government might have planned installation of digital meters and global positioning system (GPS) devices to prevent ...
PANAJI: The government might have planned installation of digital meters and global positioning system (GPS) devices to prevent fleecing of tourists and passengers in the state, but the tourist taxi owners are vehemently opposed to the idea and have “threatened” to block the process at all costs.
Taxi operators across the state are opposed to the idea of installation of any type of meters and GPS devices saying that such a system would not work and the present system of charging the passengers/tourists was in their best interest and that of the passengers.
Several taxi operators told ‘The Navhind Times’ that the “meter system” was not appropriate for Goa and as such government should desist from making it compulsory. “A taxi operator might attract a client in Panaji and take the vehicle to Vasco or some other place, but there is no guarantee that we will get a client on return journey and as such our business would not be profitable,” said the owner of a taxi.
The taxi owners wanted the government to resolve the differences between the two warring groups of North and South Goa taxi owners so as to ensure that the rates charged by them did not differ and that there was uniformity in operation of the business and that passengers were not cheated.
As regards to the rude and violent behaviour of the taxi drivers, the owners of the vehicles said that there might be isolated cases of bad behaviour and assault and that such incidents should not be generalised. “Our survival depends on tourism and we should ensure that the ‘goose that lays the golden eggs’ is not killed by allowing our staff to do such things,” said the owner of a taxi-hiring firm adding that it was because of good behaviour that the taxi drivers get tips from the tourists and other passengers who hire the vehicles. He also said that the drivers also get commission from the total collection.
The drivers and the owners of the taxis were not averse to attending the refresher courses in behavioural techniques, etiquettes etc saying that acquisition of knowledge would benefit them. The owner of a reputed taxi-hiring firm in the city said that he has been giving training to his driver on etiquette etc. He too said that he would send his staff for training, if provided by the government.
The owners of taxis, however, admitted that there were cases of fleecing, overcharging and even assault, which they said were minimal. “Rather than trying to install digital meters and GPS devices, the government should try to end the differences between taxi operators of North Goa and South Goa on priority,” said the owner of a well-known taxi operating agency in the city.
He said that the rates charged by the taxi operators in South Goa were on the higher side. He said that North Goa rates differed by at least Rs seven per kilometre. While the taxi operators in North Goa charge Rs 18 per kilometre for a car, those in South charge Rs 25 per kilometre, he said adding that the passengers using the service feel that they are fleeced because of overcharging by taxi operators in South Goa.
Meanwhile, the government initiative to install digital meters and GPS devices has received backing from the hotel industry and the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa. The tourism industry feels that the installation of these devices would be beneficial to the tourists/passengers as also the owners of the taxis, who will benefit in the long run. The meter system would drive confidence amongst the users of vehicles that they would not be cheated, said a senior hotelier. “The meters can be calibrated in such a way that the taxi owners get what is due to them,” a senior captain of the industry added.