Panaji, July 1 Chief Minister Pramod Sawant’s efforts to bring together Goa’s warring private taxi operators and the promoters of Goamiles, a government-endorsed app-based cab aggregator service, proved inconclusive after the private taxi owners’ associations demanded that Goamiles should completely stop operations in the coastal state.
Private taxi operators, some of whom have been accused of heckling and in some cases assaulting Goamiles taxi drivers in the recent past, have demanded that the Chief Minister should immediately ban the cab aggregator service from picking up passengers at key entry points in the state like airports, railway and bus stations.
“We had a discussions between the two groups of taxi operators. The private taxi operators insist that Goamiles services should stop. However, I have conveyed to them that the service is of benefit to the state and will not be halted,” Sawant told reporters after the meeting at the state Secretariat.
Goa’s private taxi associations have been at loggerheads with Goamiles, an aggregator service outsourced by the tourism corporation to a Pune-based company, accusing the latter of encroaching on their livelihood.
In the last one year, more than a dozen FIRs have been filed by Goamiles taxi drivers, accusing private taxi operators of assault and giving threats. Goa’s travel and tourism industry stakeholders have warned that if the dispute is not resolved before the state’s tourism season begins in October, it would have an impact on tourism arrival figures this year.
There are around 30,000 privately-owned taxis operating in Goa, whose promoters have now subtly hinted at protests when the monsoon session of the Goa legislative Assembly gets underway on July 15.
“There was no assurance from the Chief Minister about the demands to scrap Goamiles. We are completely opposed to this app-based cab aggregator service as it infringes on our livelihood.
“We have demanded that the service be stopped before the Assembly sessions begin or we will have to resort to other options,” Chetan Kamat, President of the All Goa Taxi Owners Association told reporters after his meeting with Sawant, along with other members of the delegation.