Amid a stand-off between Goa's taxi drivers and the state government, over mandatory installation of digital meters, state Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho on Thursday warned taxi drivers that he will allow popular app-based cab services like those operated by Ola and Uber in Goa.
Taxi driver associations in Goa have refused to install digital meters, despite specific directions in a High Court order, but have now demanded that they would be more keen on operating an app-based taxi operation instead of the meters.
"Once, when we were telling them to use an app, they were speaking another language. If that is the case, let us make it a free market like other states. Let all app based services come in. Why are they opposing Ola and Uber? They are also app-based. They (Ola, Uber) will not get taxis from Delhi and Bombay and Kolkata and Chennai and from Bangalore, instead our people will join them. If that is the case, let them all start here. They are confused. They have gone on the wrong road," Godinho said.
Taxi operators have in the past opposed the Goa government's move to invite popular app-based cab aggregator services like Ola and Uber. Ola was forced to shut down operations in the state in 2014, after opposition from the tourist taxi operator lobby.
The state's only app-based cab service GoaMiles, run by a private agency in association with the state Tourism Ministry has also been opposed by the state's cabbies.
Lobo also said that the Goa government was only following a recent High Court order, which had directed installation of digital meters on all taxis in the state, and added that even if he wanted, he could not interfere with the Court's directions.
"We are following the Court orders. I cannot change it even if I want. Let them go to Court and say 'we will bring in an app-based service'. They have gone thrice, let them go the fourth time," Godinho said.
Taxi drivers in Goa have been accused of overcharging, by tourists and locals and tourists alike over the last couple of decades, in absence of a standard fare meter system.
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