ROQUE DIAS | NT
This man had taken up a challenge thrown at him by the authorities when he suggested that the tourism department should launch a taxi service that is supported by the latest technology. And today Pushkal Fernandes, a resident of Borda, Margao, successfully runs a taxi service called ‘Radio Taxi’ much to the chagrin of the highhanded private cabbies.
“The business is good. People have started trusting us for our quick and efficient service,” says Fernandes, whose taxi service is one of its kind in the state.
The taxi service is managed online and works smoothly. He claims that the fares charged for ferrying the tourists and locals is nominal and below the actual fares approved by the government.
Fernandes rues that the government-approved fares are quite high and the customers feel the pinch. To mitigate the burden, he charges the customers below the government fares.
Fernandes had taken up the matter on fares with the authorities.
“But the government is not ready to lower the fares, perhaps on the account of the pressure from private taxi operators and their lobby… I had personally discussed the matter with the tourism director and GTDC officials. But the government in not in a mood to lower the fares, saying that the fares were fixed factoring in the yardsticks followed in Goa’s taxi business,” he explains.
Customers can use his taxi service by booking the trip online. The customers are picked up and ferried in quickest possible time.
Payment can be made through cheques, or fares can be paid in cash directly to the cabbie.
Talking about the need for a mobile phone application to promote his business, Fernandes says his app helps the customers in knowing details of their visits, routes and fares.
He clarifies that government’s nod is not required to develop a mobile phone app for running a taxi service.
But Fernandes had informed the regional transport office of the transport department and the tourism department about the app before getting it developed.
Interestingly, Fernandes hesitates to run the service along coastal villages, where the domination of private cabbies prevails.
“Private taxi operators do not allow our drivers to pick up tourists from hotels. Tourists are deprived of our reasonable and efficient service,” he complains.
Apart from running the taxi service, Fernandes runs a catering business, and also has a rent-a-car service.
Strongly pitching for the augmentation of technology-supported taxi service in Goa, he says this kind of service is the need of the hour.
“Such taxi services are needed because most of the tourists coming to Goa are familiar in using the latest technology,” he opines.
Recalling the early days of his foray into the taxi business, Fernandes says that he had approached and advised the GTDC and the tourism department to launch a similar taxi service.
“I was condescendingly told to start my own taxi service… And that’s how I started off,” he reminisces.