And … so it continues
The imbroglio continues when it comes to installing meters, with the government now prepared to cancel permits for those who do not. This will of course open a box of worms for politicians, especially those on the coast. People in the industry have expressed their opinion
The drama over the taximeter continues. The government appears to have compiled a list of taxi drivers eager to take the meter and those who have installed one. It is worrying that the list of those who do not wish to take the meter is very long. This could mean that their licenses would be canceled. This would mean that these taxi drivers could not apply for a new license if their existing license was canceled. This is of course according to the rules. The taxi driver segment is quite large on the coast and as the elections approach politicians have started to worry about their future. If things go as planned, they could be in deep trouble. People in the hospitality industry had a lot to say. Hotelier Savio Messias and former president of TTAG had a lot to say about the current state of affairs. He said: âTaxi drivers cannot hold people to ransom. They have to install meters. The government can invite Uber and Ola. These parties may employ local taxi drivers. The government did not bring them in to help the taxi drivers. Uber and Ola have a different licensing system; they will have to hire cars and drivers from Goa. However, they will have to work more hours, which is not wrong. All of us in business work long hours. The market changes over time and we all need to change. Another member of the industry, Nilesh Shah, the current president of TTAG, said it was important that the rule of law be respected. He said, âThis cannot be a political decision. Your income depends on the customers. I ask the taxi fraternity to consider this development in a positive light. With a counter, they can earn more. They can’t stick with it; this is my path or the position of the highway. It doesn’t work. “He said the government was ready to reimburse the cost of the meter. They had already allocated Rs 32 crore for this expense. Taxi drivers should not hesitate. The law should prevail. According to him, the The court’s decision was yet to be rendered. The diversity of views on this matter could be measured by the response from Serafin Cotta, president of the Association of Small and Medium-Sized Hoteliers. He said the government had informed drivers of taxi that the taxi licenses would be canceled. This meant that the government was keen to make money with this business. He said: “They are interested in the fees they will earn by applying and paying the necessary fees. . They leave this question to every MP who is interested in this subject to get away with the bluff. With the court ruling, the government is putting pressure on the taxi drivers. All of this is paid for by us, the con tributable â. He said the saddest thing was that this decision was initiated during the Covid period when business took a hit. According to him, many drivers did not eat even two meals a day because business had been affected and no one was making money. Throwing the rule book at them just wasn’t right, he thought. A senior executive at a five-star property had another opinion. Ajith Nair, sales and marketing manager at Zuri White Sands, Goa Resort and Casino, felt the decision to install meters would be a good one for everyone. He said: âI look outside my hotel and can safely say that business has dropped for taxis parked outside our hotel. Customers now hire a taxi from the airport and drive to the property. I would say that up to thirty percent of the guests at our property travel by car for the duration of their stay. This is a lost turnover for the taxi business. Vincent Carvalho of the South Goa Tourist Association said that when the government talked about fixing meters, they started by saying that they were in the process of working out a plan to repay the money that is to be paid for. install the meter. The money, he said, had not been paid, but the date by which it was to be fixed had already been announced. The money he said would be refunded, but maybe it would be in stages. He said: âOnce they said it would be Rs 4000, then Rs 6000. When we spoke to the late Mr. Parrikar, he said if we installed a meter we only had to pay Rs 1000. But now , in the second section they say that there is no difference between a tourist taxi and a car taxi. A motor cabin enters the domain of public transport. When I applied, it was for a passenger vehicle. I do not choose anyone on the road and I let them down like in Mumbai or Bangalore. We only focus on the tourists who come to the hotel. A passenger vehicle has a different definition than a passenger vehicle. He said the government was pushing the court decision, but when they applied for a permit it was made clear that a gadget was provided and the rates cannot collide with the rates charged by others. taxis like black and white taxis. This rate would be higher than these rates. Now he said he had a notification that said a taxi / tourist taxi now put them on the same level. Tourist taxis were interstate and nowhere in the country did they have meters. The prices were decided according to the kilometers to be covered. He said they were now brought down to the level of regular taxis. How, he asked, could they resume business in this situation. He also asked if they were getting the meter for free, why did he have to invest his money in it. He said they had previously asked to install cruise controls on vehicles, but have now all been disconnected. Vincent said they cannot compare what is happening in Mumbai and Bengaluru and expect the same in Goa. It certainly seems that the last word on this subject has not been spoken or written down. In all this, the tourist continues to suffer. We can only hope that an appropriate solution will be found as soon as possible.