This article was written by MR. Joseph Zuzarte for the of the MID-DAY. According to him, If you’re going to visit Goa and have plans to rent a bike or car, keep this in mind: Don’t hire a vehicle with white number plates. In case you need to hire the self-driven vehicles always go for the yellow number plates. But why did he said that? What was the reason that compiled him to make this statement? This information will be very helpful regardless of the fact whether you stay in Goa or visiting it for the firs time.
Many tourists who visit this tiny beautiful place which is also known as the pearl of the east, gets carried away by the people who rent the vehicles out on the daily or weekly basis to the tourist coming to state on a short visit. Not only Indians, but the foreigners also rent a vehicle on self-drive. But do you know that renting a car or bike with white number plates is completely illegal? Yes, many a time the person you are rent vehicles from may not make you aware of the consequences attached to it.
According to Mr. Zuzarte, Apart from the tourist taxis and rental self-drive vehicles that have yellow number plates, there are private two-wheelers and four-wheelers with white number plates, which are illegally rented out. Since October, there is a crackdown on those driving around in them. Most of the people who rent out the two or four wheelers with white number plates are not the part of Tourist Taxi Owners Association and the work is carried out by them is illegal in nature.
According to the sources, Once tourists on a vehicle with a white number plate are stopped, attempts to contact the dealer go in vain, and the vehicle is seized. The new development has taken place due to a moratorium on new rent-a-bike and rent-a-car licenses by the Goa government following pressure from the tourist taxi owners’ association.
The problem is directly related to the high fares charged by tourist taxis in Goa, as there is no public transport in Goa after 7 pm. Also, locals prefer to buy and operate tourist taxis which operate without meters, charging ‘fixed fares’. All kinds of cars, from Maruti Swifts to Mercedes, and even Audis, are used as tourist taxis. The rates vary accordingly, and overcharging is common. Which is where the owners of rental vehicles have stepped in. Over the years, with the rise in tourist arrivals, the number of rental vehicles has swelled, as has the number of tourist taxis, which means more people have bought cars to rent them out.
According to the Mr. Zuzarte, there is two groups or association that exists in Goa. The North Goa Tourist Taxi Owners Association (NGTTOA) and North Goa Rent-A-Cab Association and both have their point own point of view on this issue. Mr. Ravindra Vengurlekar, vice-president of the influential North Goa Tourist Taxi Owners Association (NGTTOA), says, “We have been protesting against the illegal renting out of private cars as it is affecting our legal taxi business.” while, Mr. Nitesh Chodankar, vice-president of the North Goa Rent-A-Cab Association, said, “We want permits for our private rental cars so that we can earn a livelihood.”
Meanwhile, the RTO does not have the provision made for the white number plates cars or bikes to used commercially for renting out. Despite the fact that the business runs under the nose of the system no one others to stop it, but once the tourists get stopped by the traffic police for the scrutiny the real problems starts.