Goa gears up for prolonged taxi strike

Goa CM Pramod Sawant said the administration has made adequate transportation arrangements for tourists visiting the state amidst the taxi strike (PTI File Photo)

At a time when Goa heads for its usual weekend rush of tourists, the taxi strike in the coastal state entered the second day on Saturday, causing a lot of hardship to inbound tourists.

Several thousand taxis out of 30,000-odd registered vehicles were off the roads for the second day running, even as Chief Minister Pramod Sawant implored the striking taxi union officials to withdraw the strike and join GoaMiles, a cab aggregator service operating under the aegis of the state government.

"The striking taxi drivers should adapt to new technology and join GoaMiles. At least try it out before going on strike and putting people through hardship. Or else we can even design a special cab aggregator service for the striking taxi drivers for their benefit," Sawant said.

Meanwhile, people like Amit Parvatkar, one of the thousands of tourists stranded in Goa due to the strike, regret their decision to come to the state on a holiday.

"Earlier, the taxis in Goa were expensive, but at least the service was in existence. Now, I and my family are completely stranded. We have to get to the airport on Sunday and we are not sure how to get there," Parvatkar, an IT professional from Pune said.

Speaking to DH, Gagan Malik, Goa airport director said that inbound passengers were being sensitised about the strike before they de-plane in order to avoid panic.

"We have directed all airlines to inform the passengers about the ongoing taxi strike in Goa," Malik said. He also said that a 24x7 helpdesk had been set up at the airport and additional buses of the state transport corporation were pressed into service to enable passengers to reach their respective destinations.

Nearly 11,000 tourists arrive in Goa by air by the 80-odd flights which land at Goa's Dabolim international airport every day. 

In the past year, more than a dozen First Information Reports have been filed by GoaMiles taxi drivers, accusing private taxi operators of assault and threatening them.

Goa’s taxi operators, who run taxi services without functioning fare meters, have also been repeatedly accused of behaving rudely with customers, primarily tourists and fleecing them.

Travel and Tourism Association of Goa, a top body of industry stakeholders, also complained to the government that the abysmal service from the taxi sector was one of the factors responsible for a dip in tourist arrivals in Goa.

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