Govt to provide fare meters free of cost to Goa taxis: CM

The Goa cabinet on Thursday formally cleared a proposal to install fare meters free of cost to thousands of taxis in Goa, even as a spokesperson for the state’s taxi operators expressed dissatisfaction at the move. The taxi operators have however continued their demand for scrapping of the state’s sole app based cab service GoaMiles.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said that the move to install meters free of cost and letting the government foot the bill, was based on humanitarian grounds in view of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival which begins on Friday.

“The taxi owners will not have to pay for installation of meters. The government is giving it to them free of cost. The cabinet has cleared the proposal,” Sawant told reporters after a meeting of the state cabinet.

A large chunk of Goa’s 30,000 odd tourist taxis have staged numerous strikes and protests demanding scrapping of GoaMiles, an app-based cab aggregator service started by a private company in association with the state government, and have refused to install fare meters, alleging a scam in the government procurement of the gadgets.

Ola taxi services were introduced in Goa in 2014, but were soon stopped by the state transport department following protests by local taxi operators.

Shortly after the announcement by Sawant, Sudip Tamhankar, a spokesperson for several taxi unions, said that the government was only keen on making a quick buck in purchasing the fare meters. “We have expressed our willingness to resolve this deadlock by linking all taxis in the state through an app, but the government is hell bent on passing on fare meters, whose procurement is suspicious,” Tamhankar said.