Panjim: Centre for Responsible Tourism (CRT) on Thursday said that the app-based taxi service ‘Goamiles’ introduced by Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) was only beneficial to a “big company” and not to the “local taxi operators”.
CRT has urged the government and GTDC to remain committed to the service of the common people and engage with local taxi owners and drivers to introduce their own app-based service.
In a statement, CRT in-charge Fr Freddy Braganza said that the highly advertised app-based service as an initiative under the aegis of GTDC is entirely operated and managed by a Pune-based private enterprise Frotomiles Private Limited. “The company clearly lacks credible experience to manage a taxi system in Goa as the taxi operations are tuned to the tourism industry,” he said.
He alleged that GTDC used exactly the same modus operandi when women driven taxis were introduced.
“Incidentally in both cases GTDC engaged private enterprises which have no understanding and experience as how it affects the local stakeholders. If tourism is deemed as development by the State government, then this is clearly an anti-development and anti-people. Thus GTDC has moved in the interests of the corporates and not in favour of the local operators,” CRT said.
CRT has said that local taxi operators were constantly requesting the government to stop the illegal taxi operations where private vehicles are plying as taxis. “The taxi operators have been saying that the business of tours should be left to the local tourist taxis to have a fair share in the tourism industry, that the rates of the taxis and the tour operators should be prominently displayed in the hotel lobby as well as public places for the guests to have a fair choice of which mode of transport they would prefer to travel while touring,” he added.
“However, none of the demands of the taxi operators were heeded to. Instead of curbing the illegal activities prevailing in the conduct of the taxi operations, the government engaged a private operator to introduce app-based taxi service without engaging and encouraging the traditional tourist taxi owners and drivers to manage their own app for the service,” he said.
“CRT understands that there is a great amount of disgust among the people that the government which should engage the common people in securing their livelihood is enabling the introduction of taxi services by non-taxi operators,” Braganza said. [H]