Tourist taxis do not use meters and could hit hotels in S Goa, stakeholders say | Goa News

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Panaji: With Mopa International Airport due to start operating in September, Goa is expected to see an increased flow of travellers. While the development at the start of the tourist season should have made the tourism industry euphoric, concerns grew over the alleged non-implementation of taximeters.
Trade members have alleged that although tourist taxis have been fitted with meters, operators are still not charging travelers at metered rates and fear that, as an immediate consequence, hotels in South Goa will be affected.
A North Goa hotelier, Francisco de Braganca, said tourist taxi operators continued to charge exorbitantly and added that the transport department had not put in place a mechanism to check whether they were using meters .
“If you charge Rs 3,000-4,000 one way from North Goa to South Goa, we are concerned that hotels in South Goa will lose customers,” he said.
“Is there a system in place to check whether tourist taxi operators charge their customers reasonably?” said Braganza.
He said coaches will need to be organized from North Goa airport rather than relying entirely on tourist taxis for transport.
A South Goa hotelier said the state had received enough bad publicity in the past from a few operators engaging in unsound business practices. The need of the hour is to have a shuttle service like there is at other airports in the country, he said.
“Until the four lanes of the national highway are completely completed, travel from north to south and vice versa will not be smooth and fast. In such a situation, taxi operators are likely to take advantage of the situation,” did he declare.
It took over five years for the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) and that too after court intervention to get the government to ensure that tourist taxis install digital meters. Some, however, have not yet installed the digital speedometers on their vehicles.
A senior Department of Transportation official said to date they have not received any complaints of overcharging.
“Guests must insist that the driver turn on the digital meter and charge accordingly. They should complain to the transportation department if they (drivers) don’t,” the senior officer said.
TTAG discussed the issue with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.
“As the Zuari bridge is due to be put into operation by the end of next month, it will reduce travel time. When we met the Chief Minister on Monday, we discussed connectivity issues and hassle-free travel from north to south. If the meters are fixed and if they are not used, what is the point of having them installed? Shah said.
Shah said a rapid transit system must be in place before the new airport is opened. “We will need more vehicles once the new airport is operational, so we have also asked the CM to lift an embargo on issuing new licenses for taxis and rickshaws,” Shah added.
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