Taxis in Goa will soon have digital meters, state transport minister Mauvin Godinho said on Wednesday. Describing Goa’s taxi drivers as the “real ambassadors of the tourism industry”, Godinho said the installation of the metres will begin in a fortnight.
For the first six months, the state government will bear the cost of installing the meters, in about 20,000 taxis, which will cost Rs 34 crore, he said. The move is aimed at not burdening taxi drivers “suffering because of steep rise in fuel prices”, he said.
With tourists often complaining of taxi drivers overcharging them, Godinho said that the digital metres will feed the ride details to a server monitored by the transport department. Godinho also said that taxi rates, last revised in 2014, will be soon updated.
The transport minister also said that resisting installation of digital meters or failure to charge by the meter may lead to cancellation of taxi permits.
The Bombay High Court had directed the installation of digital meters in Goa taxis in 2016 after hearing a petition filed by the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTGA),
Godinho said the process got “slightly delayed” as the backend services for installation of digital meters were provided by National Informatics Centre.
Taxi unions in the state have repeatedly opposed the government’s Goa Miles taxi App and have renewed their demand for closure of the app-based taxi aggregator service. Godinho further said that while aggregators like Ola and Uber operate all over the country, the situation in Goa is peculiar. He said that in Metros, app-based aggregators work on volume, but that may not be the case in Goa.
He said that Goa Miles, as an aggregator, should not solicit customers at the airport, and that the issue of Goa Miles counter at the airport will be sorted out. “Nobody can dictate to the government what needs to done. You (taxi unions opposed to Goa Miles) cannot hold a gun to our head. This government has been sympathetic and we will solve the problem taking all into confidence,” said Godinho.