Getting around in Goa
Travelling around Goa is fairly easy. There is an extensive road network which connects most places in Goa with motorable roads. There are private as well as state transport corporation run bus services which service all the major locations.
Despite the overcrowding, noise and off-schedule service, there is a special charm in travelling in the private buses which are brightly painted and filled with colourful local characters. Do not be surprised if you see buses making unscheduled stops, especially in the rural areas, to pick up passengers waiting at all sorts of places besides the regular bus-stand.
If you are interested in exploring Goa on your own and at your own pace, then a car is a very good option. A number of companies offer rental cars, both self and chauffeur-driven. A list of companies offering car rentals is available in the travel services section of this website. Besides rented cars, there are the ubiquitous tourist taxis, which are available near most hotels and resorts and at all the tourist attractions. There are two types of taxis, the white-colored tourist taxis, and the yellow-topped black regular taxis.
The private tourist taxis, are completely white in colour, and are found at the Goa Airport, the railway stations and outside most popular hotels. Almost all major towns and tourist attractions have a taxi stand, where both types of taxis are available. Most hotels also arrange a taxi for you on request. These taxis quite often have an interstate license and can take you to nearby destinations outside Goa.
The taxi hire charges are fixed per kilometer, but with a little bit of bargaining you can arrive at a rate which is quite reasonable for the trip. The taxis can be hired per trip or for the whole day. Ensure that you fix a price for the entire journey before you sit in, so that you don’t get overcharged at the end of the trip.
Goa has a unique and very popular mode of transport known as a ‘pilot’. This is in reality a motorcycle taxi. This is the fastest and most economic way of getting about in Goan towns and sometimes to locations at short distances on the outskirts.
The motorcycle taxis are easily recognised by the yellow mudguards and yellow number plates. The driver who is known as the ‘pilot’ carries only one pillion rider at a time. They even have special taxi stand of their own. Bargain with the pilot for a good rate for the trip before you set out. Hired motorbikes, moped, scooters and bicycles are also a very economical mode of transport to travel around Goa, especially in the interiors. These are available in the cities as well as near most beach areas.
The cost of hiring a bike for a day ranges anywhere from Rs 200 to Rs 400. Usually, a down payment as security or deposit of your passport is required at most such places which rent out motorbikes.
The three-wheeled auto-rickshaw taxi, painted yellow and black, is a common site in all Goan towns. This taxi is basically the front half of a motor scooter with a couple of seats mounted on the back. They usually take two to three passengers and are quite speedy on the crowded roads of Goan towns. Above all, they are very cheap as compared to taxis for travelling around the town. The rickshaws have separate stands in most places.
They have a meter system, according to which they are supposed to charge per km. However most don’t adhere to this, so in most cases bargaining is common before you set out on your trip.
At quite a few places around Goa, especially in the rural hinterland, you will have to cross a small river to get to your destination. Most such rivers now have a bridge across them, which has made the flow of traffic smooth all over Goa. However, where a bridge is yet to come up, you will be able to enjoy another mode of transport unique to Goa.
This is the ferry also known as ferryboat by the locals, which carries people and cars from one shore to the other, across the rivers and estuaries all around Goa. In some places, the ferry remains the only mode of transport to get to the mainland. Popular river crossings include: Old Goa to Divar Island, Divar to Narve, Querim to Tiracol, and Cavelossim to Assolna.
There is a ferry from the capital city of Panaji across the Mandovi river to Betim, despite the presence of two excellent bridges across the Mandovi river. Travellers to Goa feel that the ferry ride is one of the most romantic mode of transport in Goa. This most enjoyable ride is well worth checking out.
The official fares for the various taxi operators are as below:
Any misbehavior or overcharging by the drivers should be reported to the nearest Transport Department office at Panaji (2225606), Mapusa (2250254), Bicholim (2362225), Vasco (2515100), Margao (2741962), and Ponda (2312749).