A union of taxi owners in Goa have rejected Chief Minister Pramod Sawant’s plea to try the app-based taxi service called GoaMiles, The Times of India reported on Friday.

The state tourism department joined hands with the GoaMiles company to develop the app after tourists kept complaining of high fares and unregulated service. The Association of Tourist Taxi Owners of Goa met Sawant at the Assembly on Thursday and refused to agree to his request to register with the app for three months.

“We have one demand, we want GoaMiles scrapped,” the association’s President Chetan Kamat said. He added the next course of action would be decided after discussions with other members.

Sawant told the House at the end of a two-and-half hour discussion that the
government was ready to support tourist taxi operators if they wanted to launch their own app, PTI reported. “We can sit across the table and discuss the chief minister’s proposal of a taxi union app,” union leader Kamat said. “We have around 30,000 taxis while GoaMiles has just 300. Let them join us to experience our service,” he added. Congress MLAS walked out of the House when the government refused to scrap the app.

An unidentified member of the association told The Times of India that they had been holding meetings with the authorities over the past six months. He said the government should have made it clear from the start that they did not agree with the taxi operators’ demand.

Earlier, Sawant had said GoaMiles was a completely legal service and the company had paid Rs 70 lakh as Goods and Services Tax to the state government. “Goa Miles has assured to pay a minimum Rs 18 lakh annually to the state government in the form of GST,” the chief minister said. “App-based taxi is the need of the hour for the safety and security of passengers. Each taxi is monitored by a centrally-located control room.”