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Goa motorcycle taxis eye home delivery biz

Off the roads since the lockdown started on March 22, Goa's motorcycle taxi riders, known as pilots, might end up switching passengers in favour of delivery packages on their pillion seat.

Goa motorcycle taxis eye home delivery biz

Suresh Thakur, president of the Goa Motor-Cycle Taxi Riders Association, told IANS, the body that represented over 1,700 pilots was in touch with the state government as well as a global app-based goods services delivery company for the switch-over, especially during the Covid-19 lockdown.

"This crisis is not going to ease soon. We have been off the roads since March 22. Pilots need to find a way to survive and we have to adapt to the delivery services module," Thakur said.

Thakur said the association was in negotiation with the app-based delivery firm for home delivery service using motorcycle pilots.

"We have written to the Transport Department as well as the Chief Minister Office urging them to allow us to work as delivery service partners. We are negotiating with the app firm as well," Thakur said.

In the interim, the association has sought financial relief for pilots from the state on the lines of the Rs 6,000 package given to out-of-work labourers, registered with the government.

When the relaxations were announced earlier this month, the state government, based on Union Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines, banned pillion riding on motorcycles, which by extension, also debars motorcycle pilots from bringing their bikes on roads for business.

According to Thakur, motorcycle taxi rides were formalised as a public transport service in the early 1970s. While individuals ferried passengers on motorcycles between two points even during the Portuguese era, during first Chief Minister Dayanand Bandodkar's regime after state's liberation in 1961 it got legal recognition.

Typically, pilots astride their yellow and black painted motorcycles can be hailed in busy thoroughfare areas like markets, bus stations and ferry jetties and the unique service, which is cheaper than taxi and auto-rickshaw rides, is synonymous with Goa.

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