Goa refuses to shut down cab aggregator service amid protests



Amid a stand-off between the state government and private taxi operators, which could have implications on the tourism industry in Goa, the state tourism department on Wednesday refused to shut down its outsourced cab aggregator service Goamiles.

Speaking to reporters here, BJP MLA and Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) head Dayanand Sopte said the state government was considering floating a financial aid package for those taxi operators who join Goamiles.

"There is no question of stopping the Goamiles service. It is helping people of the state and the tourists to get cheap cab rides. It is here to stay," Sopte told reporters, days after violence broke out between private taxi operators and Goamiles drivers.

Goa's private taxi associations have been at loggerheads with Goamiles, an aggregator service outsourced by the GTDC 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 drivers against private taxi operators for assault and threats.

There are around 30,000 privately owned taxis operating in Goa, whose promoters have warned of violence if the cab aggregator service is not stopped.

In a bid to lure more taxi operators into the Goamiles fold, Sopte also said that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant was considering to put together a financial package as an incentive for private taxi operators to sign up for Goamiles, which would include life and health insurance plans and financial subsidy to buy new vehicles.

"The Chief Minister is willing to give these benefits as part of a government scheme to those who are willing to work for Goamiles. The insurance plan will not just cover the driver, but also his family members," Sopte said. IANS