It’s been almost a week now that the taxi union in Goa has been on strike. What started off as a demand to have app-based taxis scrapped by just the tourist taxi drivers, escalated to include rental car operators and even the black and yellow taxis. In the last couple of days, close to 50 taxi drivers have already been booked for taking part in the strike – but the unions are not backing down. The Chief Minister of Goa, Dr Pramod Sawant managed to convince the black and yellow taxi drivers to withdraw their protest, however, the white tourist taxis are still firm in their resolve, and so is the CM. With the massive inconvenience caused to tourists and locals alike, a group of concerned citizens came together to help people out by starting a WhatsApp group to carpool to and from the airport. This was the start of Share Your Ride Goa.
The Good Samaritans
The limitation for adding members on a WhatsApp group caps out at 256. This limit was reached in a few hours on Saturday afternoon once the QR code for the group went viral. With no more space to add new members, the admins of the group started a Share Your Ride Goa Facebook page, allowing those in need to post their requirements. Given the massive inconvenience caused by the taxis being on strike, the WhatsApp group and the Facebook page has been a saviour to countless tourists who were left stranded,
Nida Sayed, a reporter with the Time News Network here in Goa, spoke with a few of the admins and volunteers on the group. In a report published by The Times of India Goa, one of the volunteers is quoted saying, “The group is for a specific purpose — to ease the problems tourists are going to face because of the taxi strike. Every time a taxi strike takes place, the government is forced to agree to the unreasonable demands of the operators. It’s time the people of Goa realise we must have a competitive system, which benefits the consumers.”
Off to a good start
On Saturday itself, the volunteers on the Share Your Ride Goa group managed to complete at least 40 rides by 9 pm. Since no one is going out of their way to help, the carpooling system works great because frequent travellers on the airport route have an opportunity to help those in need. Goa has always been known for its hospitality, and with the taxis being on strike – especially considering the weather conditions, this is the perfect way to prove that the people of Goa have their heart in the right place. “People have the power to make a change, pool in and make sure that the transportation happens smoothly,” said another volunteer, “even when the taxis are on strike so that the taxi operators realise that they have to fall in line and do what’s good for the consumer.”
If you would like to volunteer a ride, or if you’re in need of one, visit the Share Your Ride Goa page on Facebook. The page and group combined have over 500 followers already, and the numbers are increasing steadily. Rides are not assured since this service is based purely on goodwill.