Rejecting the demand for scrapping GoaMiles- the app-based taxi service in the state, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant asked private taxi operators to either join GoaMiles or come up with their own app-based service.
“The government will not back out of GoaMiles; if you want, come up with your own app-based service and government departments including information technology, transport, Goa Tourism Development Corporation will support and promote it,” said Sawant, while replying to the discussion on taxi issue in the Assembly.
Sawant appealed to the private taxi operators to join GoaMiles for three months and said if they were not satisfied the government would review and make necessary changes in the service as per their wish.
“Today taxi operators are struggling to earn Rs 15,000-20,000 a month. If they enrol under GoaMiles they will end up earning a minimum of Rs 40,000 a month,” he said. He said that app-based taxi service is the need of the hour, adding that, the security of tourists cannot be assured by installing digital meters.
“Till date, through GoaMiles, Rs 70 lakh has been paid to the government in the form of goods and services tax. Every year they will pay minimum Rs 18 lakh as revenue share to the GTDC,” he said.
Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho informed that a total 26, 930 taxis are registered with the transport department and that from 2014-18, 60 black and yellow taxis were replaced wherein the government spent Rs 83.3 lakh, while 625 taxis of tourist taxi operators were replaced wherein the government spent around Rs 14.17 crore.
Benaulim MLA Churchill Alemao demanded that the 25-year domicile be made mandatory for taxi drivers to give priority to the local youth. The leader of opposition Digambar Kamat said that the taxi issue was not only restricted to taxi operators but entire Goa and Goans.
“If we want to boost tourism then we have to bring in discipline. While providing support system to local taxi operators lets maintain transparency,” said Porvorim MLA Rohan Khaunte
Curtorim MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco asked as to why no information about GoaMiles is provided under Right to Information.