An online petition demanding to CM Manohar Parrikar to allow online cab services like Ola and Uber in Goa has gone viral. Goa being on of the top tourist places in India attracts an incredible number of tourist round the year. This petition was started by an NRI of Goan origin Mahesh Sardesai, who was tired of the Goa Taxi mafia. The petition has been signed by 3,839 supporters in a matter of a few hours.
This petition has requested CM Parrikar to let such cab services run within Goa in order to boost the coastal state’s tourism economy, which Sardesai says is being choked by high-priced taxi services, scruffy taxi drivers, boost employment and ease traffic congestion.
“Tourism is the backbone of Goa’s economy and tourists across the world and India are used to services like Ola and Uber, it’s time to allow them to operate in Goa. Goan taxi drivers never use the taxi meters required by law and charge exorbitant rates for their services,” Sardesai said in his petition uploaded on change.org.
In Goa, tourist taxi drivers are often accused of overcharging, intimidating and operating in an unregulated environment. Several attempts by the state government to install and implement a fare-meter system have failed, even as members of taxi lobby have also attacked tour coach buses ferrying foreign tourists, accusing tour operators of depriving them of business.
Brawl between the taxi drivers and tourists have also resulted in the murder of the latter. Just a couple of years back, a conflict between a Russian travel operator and a local taxi owner resulted in the murder of the latter, sparking hostilities between locals and Russian tourists, who account for a large chunk of the half million foreign tourists who visit the state every year.
Notably, Ola taxi services were introduced in Goa in 2014, however, they soon had to stop due to state transport department orders following protests by local taxi operators.
“We request that our elected representatives provide an improved alternative which encourages innovation and competition instead of our broken taxi system and not to give in to the voice of taxi thugs looting tourists and Goans,” the petition states.
“I am a student of BITS (Birla Institute of Technology and Science) Goa. We end up paying unreasonable prices even while travelling short distances. And because they have a monopoly we are left with no option. The competition will only benefit the common citizen,” says Khyati Jain.
“Time to end the private taxi monopoly plaguing Goa! It’s just ridiculous that the government is still putting up with this system in Goa and leaving people with no choice at all,” says Delano Furtado, a Mumbai-based lawyer.