Tourists stranded as taxis go off road in Goa

Panaji, Feb 24: Thousands of tourists were stranded in Goa Monday, after tourist taxis went off the roads for a day to protest against the entry of a private radio taxi operation here.

Over 7,000 tourist taxis associated with two major taxi unions – North Goa Tourist Taxi Owners Association (NGTTOA) and the All Goa Tourist Taxi Association – stayed off roads Monday.

“We are protesting against the entry of a big private company operated fleet of cars called Ola Cabs in Goa,” NGTTOA general secretary Vinayak Nanoskar said.

Nanoskar said the strike was also to protest against the government’s inaction against illegally operated taxi services in the state.

Ruling Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Michael Lobo has also termed taxi operators’ demands “genuine” and extended his support to the strike.

The strike has spelled bad news for passengers landing in Goa at airport, railway station and bus terminuses, especially because of the poor public transport network in Goa.

“I am stranded here for over two hours and the yellow and black taxis are charging more than 200 per cent of the original fare,” said Robert Bradford, who arrived here from Mumbai by an overnight bus.

At the Dabolim international airport, Ramesh Jain was stranded for over an hour after he landed from Delhi. “This is disgraceful at a tourist destination,” he said, before finally opting for a bus ride to his destination.

With their count at 7,000, tourist taxis easily outnumber the 2,000 odd yellow and black cabs in Goa.

While the tourist taxis could be hired for a longer duration and multi-pick up and drops, yellow and black taxis could only be used for point to point pick up and drops.

IANS