Panaji, Oct 13 (IANS): Goa Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho on Wednesday expressed the fear that Dabolim airport may shut down if local taxi operators fail to support app-based taxi services.
According to Godinho, once the Mopa airport is operational and when they start giving top-class transport facilities, then Dabolim airport will suffer.
"If transportation mess continues at Dabolim then everyone will prefer to fly from Mopa," he said.
"We need to understand that Mopa airport is getting ready, which will be run by a private company. Hence we don't want Dabolim to suffer for non-availability of app-based taxis. Travellers should not face problems when they arrive at Dabolim airport. It should be a thing of the past," the Minister added stressing the importance of app-based taxi services.
"I want this (Dabolim) airport to run side-by-side. Hence, within two days we want to start the counter (for 'GoaMiles'). There is urgency. This airport has to survive as the Airports Authority of India has always given good services," he said.
Godinho added that the High Court has given an order that there should be choice to the travelling public, not only prepaid or tourist taxi services, but to give them other options.
"This is why we need to create online facilities," he said.
He directed the officials that no tout should be seen at Goa's Dabolim airport and added that GoaMiles, the government app-based taxi service, will be re-launched at the airport in the next two days.
"GoaMiles is a reality," he said.
Godinho inspected the counters operated by local taxi operators and added that the counter for GoaMiles will be set up again.
Launched in 2018, GoaMiles faced opposition from local taxi drivers and then the state government was forced to close down the counter at the Dabolim airport last year despite it getting popular.
"I have convinced them (local taxi drivers) about the importance of app-based taxis. I am trying to save their business as it is digital footprint all the way. App-based taxis will surely come, how many times we will postpone it," the MInister asked.
However, the local taxi owners have said that they have no objection to GoaMiles, but they will never join them.