PANAJI: The state transport department has decided to undertake an ‘Impact Assessment,’ prior to the lifting of the moratorium on the rent-a-car scheme.
The study will help understand the impact on the road infrastructure with the existing vehicle population, and resultant traffic jams.
Ever since the rent-a-cab/ bike concept was introduced in the state, the number of cars and bikes offering taxi-like services have grown from zero to more than 30,000 – outnumbering the tourist taxi population of around 20,000.
The state has so far registered 12.86 lakh vehicles, and the number is still rising. Besides, thousands of vehicles from other states ply on the state roads on a daily basis.
The available data seems to support the suspicion that the ‘rent-a-car or bike’ vehicles and their explosive growth are contributing to traffic congestions.
The department has plans to put strict conditions on the operation of the rent-a-car vehicles.
“The state government cannot keep any scheme in abeyance unless there is any impact assessment is done. If we lift the moratorium then there will be many players waiting for it. Hence, we have decided to simultaneously conduct impact assessment and bring in strict conditions,” an official of the transport department said.
Rising traffic congestion and illegal parking have also prompted the authorities to consider making installation of GPS tracker mandatory in the ‘rent-a-car’ vehicles.
The department will check the GPS details of every rent a car either once a month or every week, and issue e-challans for violating traffic rules mainly for haphazard parking.
The GPS tracker is available, in the open market, in the range of Rs 7,000 to Rs 11,000, having features such as tracking facility and specially installed cameras that can produce visuals through the GPS.
“GPS technology is being commonly used by taxi operators and transporters in other parts of the country,” said the official.
Police investigators see the gadget as a perfect answer to auto-lifters, who can do away with cars worth lakhs, within few moments, while the transport official finds the gadget handy in reporting violations.
The North Goa Rent-a-Car Association (NGRCA), a newly constituted body of private vehicle owners, had approached the High Court last year on July 25, seeking direction to the state government to grant them the licences under ‘Rent-a-Cab Scheme’.
However, the matter is pending for final verdict.
Presently, there are 136 rent-a-cars plying in the state, and 1500 more are waiting for the moratorium to get lifted to avail of the scheme.
The state government has recently lifted the moratorium on rent-a-bike scheme but did not lift the moratorium on rent-a-car scheme.