GoaMiles is  here to  stay,  join the service for a better tomorrow: Sopte to  local taxi operators

Rubbishes all allegations; says  GoaMiles is working in the interests of Goem, Goemkar & Goemkarponn,  new schemes and benefits  for drivers on board GoaMiles soon

Following a high-level  meeting chaired by Hon. Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant on Monday to  discuss on-going  issues related to  protests from  local taxi operators against the app-based taxi service GoaMiles, Hon’ble Chairman  of Goa Tourism  Development  Corporation (GTDC), Mr. Dayanand Sopte said, “The Government  of Goa has taken  a firm decision to stand by GoaMiles  initiative in the  interest of tourism  in the State  and  will not  buckle  down to any sort of pressure from vested interests nor to their demands  to stop or scrap the app-based taxi service.”

Mr. Sopte, addressing a press conference in Panjim today, said, “We would urge local taxi operators who have not joined the initiative to sign up on GoaMiles, which is completing a year of successful operations this August, instead of  standing on the sidelines protesting against it.”

He said, “Today some taxi operators  are levelling  baseless allegations  against GoaMiles out of sheer ignorance and  jealously, as several of  their former colleagues  are  doing extremely well after joining GoaMiles. It seems like this is a disgruntled lot with selfish motives who are only trying to prevent  others from doing well.”

Explaining in detail the entire success story of  GoaMiles from  inception till date, Mr. Sopte  pointed out that GoaMiles was conceptualised after GTDC floated a well-slated tender in  January 2018, wherein after a  tough competitive  bidding, the successful bidder selected was an experienced Mumbai-based company.

“This company needs to be applauded for keeping in mind the interests of Goem  Goemkar and  Goemkarponn and  as a part of tender terms, floated  a company special purpose vehicle under name of Frotamiles who launched the service in the name  and style of GoaMiles for the new app based taxi service,” he said. Enlisting the achievements   of GoaMiles in the last one  year he said, “On commissioning the service  in  August 2018,  the fleet has steadily risen from  55 vehicles  to 1,400 cabs. The  app-based taxi service which started in  August 2018 with 1,500 trips per month touched around  14,000 trips in December 2018 and  in June  2019,  has recorded  more than  20,000 trips per month. As far as taxes generated,  it has paid more than Rs. 7 0 lakh Rupees to the government which was not in existence before.  There are approx. 50 Goan youth employed in various positions in GoaMiles.

“Similarly on an average a taxi driver registered with GoaMiles earns around Rs. 3,500 per day without  having to lose on commission  which other app-based  taxi services  operating  nationally charge,” he said. This figure is much more than what a non GoaMiles driver earns in a day and the earning potential is directly proportional to the hard work put in by the driver.

It was pointed out that GoaMiles is not an ‘outsider’. “Even  other app-based taxi services may not have  as much local genes as much as GoaMiles has,” Sopte pointed out.  He also disclosed that the  new app-based taxi service  which started operations in Goa  has not cost the  government  anything in terms  of  investments,  technology etc. and  that the  Goa government  has the  application  service  code under its control. He further  explained that drivers and taxi owners enlisted on GoaMiles  are also  locals having the requisite  domicile without which they  would  not  have been able to  obtain  permits  to operate  their taxis in Goa. In addition, with  a floating populace seeking employment, GoaMiles has  provided  livelihood opportunities  to  many drivers as  is the case  with   local taxi owners who engage outsiders looking for employment opportunities in Goa. The GTDC Chairman  also  pointed out that every  driver taken  on board GoaMiles is  subject to police verification  and provided training  for etiquettes and  manners etc. This makes the taxi service more  hospitable and is preferred  by  tourists, visitors, women travelers etc.

The GTDC Chairman also said that  around 2,500  rent-a-cab  operators  who are now  legalised and   conducting  authorised business’  are also invited to join  the app-based aggregator GoaMiles and  reap  huge benefits under this service.

Mr. Sopte today also  disclosed  that the government  through GTDC would be   unfolding  large  number of schemes for  drivers attached to GoaMiles  like  insurance, medical etc.

That a loan  facility through EDC for purchase of  vehicles by drivers  who are on board GoaMiles is also being worked out.

“The Goa government  is not going to relent and  will  not turn back, GoaMiles  is here to stay,” he said.