To resolve the ongoing dispute between the taxi operators and app-based taxi service providers, Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant has called for a special joint meeting with GoaMiles and taxi associations on Friday. While the tourist taxi operators are firm on their demand to scrap the app-based taxi service, the Government has maintained that the operation of GoaMiles would continue. The chief minister chaired a meeting attended by tourist taxi associations, which was organised by Minister Michael Lobo, who is working as a mediator between the government and taxi operators to resolve the dispute. Speaking to media persons after the meeting, Sawant said that there was no question of scrapping ‘Goa Miles’ but a solution could be worked out between warring factions by sitting across the table. “I have heard all the problems faced by the tourist taxi operators. I have asked them not to be in hurry. I have called for a meeting on Friday, where the GoaMiles (representatives) will also be present,” he said adding, “If the company is able to solve the grievances raised by taxi operators then we will reach some conclusion.” “Till then, the service of GoaMiles will continue,” the chief minister added.
Later, Lobo said that he was confident that a solution would be worked out at the Friday meeting. He said that taxi operators were asked to come out with an alternative if they want the GoaMiles app to be scrapped. “Let them come out with the alternative. The chief minister will then decide on whether to scrap GoaMiles or not. It will be his decision,” he mentioned. Speaking about the meeting, Lobo said that there was good discussion, wherein taxi operators brought to notice of CM the problems faced by them. “At the same time, CM also informed them about the letters and messages that he receives from tourists visiting the State, complaining about over charging by the taxi operators,” Minister said. Lobo said that taxi operators are told that the transparency in the fairs, charged, is the need of the hour and that the tourists visiting the State needs to be satisfied. “Issue needs to be resolved in the interest of taxi operators, tourists and the government. An amicable solution has to be worked out,” he said. Lobo also said that taxi operators will have to install the digital meters as per High Court directions. A member of Association of Tourist Taxi Owners Ruskin Mascarenhas said that while their demand to scrap GoaMiles continues, they are ready to work with the government to come out with an alternative to the app-based taxi service. “We are here to work with the government and see that an alternative is worked out where everybody will have good response and will be appreciated… the visitors will also appreciate the taxi service,” he said adding that they are looking forward to a solution at the Friday meeting.