For some time now, the tiny state of #Goa, situated on the #WesternCoast has been one of the most
popular tourist destinations of the country. It’s famed #Beaches known for a vibrant #NightLife are a big attraction as is it’s #CulturalDiversity (ruled as it was by the #Portuguese for almost five centuries) languid #FishingVillages and rich variety of flora & fauna. It is also home to some #WorldHeritage sites including the famous #Basilica of #BomJesus that is thronged by believers from all over. Like many of the #Tropical places of the world Goa witnesses maximum footfalls during certain months of the year what with summers being extremely sultry while the monsoon brings torrential rains. Every year millions of #Tourists descend from everywhere to celebrate #Christmas and usher in the #NewYear. As a result of which long unending #TrafficSnarls are a common sight in the coastal pockets of the state. Cost of travel & accomodation goes through the roof and with public transport being virtually non existent, renting a bike/car is the best option. In fact it is the only option.
In other parts of the country and especially in the big metropolitan cities a #RapidTransit system (like #METRO) is already in place and doing swimmingly well. But in Goa there are no intrastate #Trains in operation. Most of the #Buses which are #PrivatelyOperated are inexpensive & run across the length and breadth of the state but the problem is that these buses usually wind up by early evening itself. So if you are a night owl wanting to soak in the sights at the beach side parties then the bus is pretty much ruled out as an option. Goa is blessed with a number of lakes, rivers and of course there is the omnipresent #ArabianSea. Yet strangely connecting these via #InlandWaterways has not been explored as an option in all these years. Now this arrangement perhaps works fine for the local population but in peak season it sticks out like a sore thumb. What about rental taxis, did you say? Now that is the crux of the problem.
For years #TaxiOperators in Goa have been allowed by a lax administration to do as they please and charge whatever they deem fit. Travellers have complained of the high handedness of these folks saying that their fares are exorbitant, their behavior borders on the obnoxious and they are generally very unreliable. But wait. Surely #AppBasedTaxis are a great way to combat this menace. In fact in the last few years as App based taxis gain in popularity in the neighbouring states (read Mumbai, Bangalore) murmurs have begun that this should become the norm in Goa too. But look at the #ModusOperandi of App based taxi operators and you will realise why they will never work in Goa. The moment you order a taxi using an App, the software inside the App quickly lets you know how soon the cab will arrive at your doorstep and how much the ride will cost too. But how well this system works depends on two simple words – Demand and Supply.
In a sprawling metro the network of taxis are so well connected that most times you will not have to wait too long for a taxi to arrive. There is always a cab in the vicinity. More importantly once the taxi driver has dropped you off to a chosen destination he will usually have another pickup & drop request ready for him. That is how these App based taxi operators are able to give you cheap, fast and reliable rides. On the one hand if the supply is found lacking customers will have to wait endlessly for the ride whereas if the demand is less the taxi driver will not find it feasible. Either way the well oiled system that works so well in the metros will come undone. With the local population happy to make do with the existing public transport, the onus of using these App based services will fall on the tourists. Now for two to three months of business which company would be willing to put up with losses throughout the year? This will also mean that using App based taxis might cost you a whole lot more. Which brings us back to square one. Developing inland waterways is a step that is necessary but that is a long term solution. What is the way out, right now? Your guess is as good as mine.