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Stiff competition pushes taxi drivers to rent-a-cab scheme

Panaji: In a surprise move, the cabbies belonging to the North Goa Tourist Taxi Owners Association have applied for the rent-a-cab scheme seeking to run their vehicles under the scheme, which they have always been opposed to.

The association has requested the transport department to facilitate the adoption of 66 taxis under the rent-a-cab scheme factoring in the threat to the livelihood of taxi drivers in the competitive market, which has been pushing them to the margin with dwindling earnings.

Claiming that the member cabbies fulfil all the eligibility criteria, the association has said the authorities can do nothing to prevent them from obtaining permits under the rent-a-cab initiative.

The association members, who for the last four years have strongly opposed the government’s move to lift the moratorium on rent-a-cab, are now trying to push themselves onto the scheme.

“The association has 2500 members… everybody is keen to run rent-a-cab service because the association members have been compelled to explore other options by market forces… we cannot run our households with meagre earnings we make as cabbies,” NGTTOA vice-president Ravindra Vengurlekar said.

Their applications for the scheme are now under scrutiny to check whether they abide by rules.

Under the revised rules, rent-a-cab applicants must open branch offices in five cities. The office must occupy the space of at least 50 square metre area with necessary facilities for the parking, maintenance and repair of licensee vehicles.

A rent-a-cab operator must also provide cashless payment option or online booking to customers to be made available at main and branch offices.

The guidelines also state that licensees should maintain a minimum area of 100 square metre for the main office with adequate space for reception room, administrative section, sanitary blocks, cloak room with locker facilities and adequate parking space for the cabs. [NT]

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