Updated: May 27, 2019
A long vacation can offer a ton of experiences no matter how well you've pre-planned the itinerary. Several days implies bigger luggage and bigger luggage on your back makes travel tedious. Once you get to a new destination, your first task must be to dump the load at a hotel (No Pun Intended). After which you're free to make plans on the go and relish every moment as it comes. In Goa, Local Taxi/Cabs are unmetered. This means there is no way to find out whether you're being overcharged for the trip. Moreover, app based taxi services haven't been successful even after several attempts. The reason being that drivers seem to squeeze more out of the tourists as there is no reference for the fares they demand. Now the question comes, how do you hire a taxi for a reasonable rate?
Shooting a bullet in blind could work but in order to bargain, you must at least have a ballpark figure as to how much it could cost for an approximate distance. Based on the few sample trips that I've realized that the thumb rule you could follow is around 300-350 Rs for every 10 Km by a small Non Air conditioned car. For a bigger car (6-8 seater) or if it is air conditioned add another 150-200 Rs. Keep in mind that this is the approximate price TO PAY and not TO START the negotiation. There are some taxi drivers who own the cars themselves. This means there would not be a GPS tracker on the vehicle. If they get a booking through the prepaid counter then they have to give a cut to the contractor. So there is a good chance of finding such guys outside the prepaid queue saying “taxi taxi”. Use the counter rate and negotiate.
These charts might be outdated judging by the faded appearance. However, it would still give you an idea of a figure to help you negotiate. The latest chart is available in the form of a laminated sheet at railway stations and major bus stops to have a look but not to photograph.
Tip 1: Here is a special tip which would work out really cheap if you are in luck. Due to the large distances between places and the politics between taxi driver unions at different regions, once the passengers have been dropped off the taxi usually drives back empty. This means he drives all the way back to where he has come from ALONE. The odds of picking up passengers on the way are very slim.
Tip 2: Let's say you're at the airport or at a railway station. Be on a lookout for taxis that have just dropped off passengers. Talk to the driver and ask him where he is headed. Use Google maps and figure out how close your destination is from his destination. If you're fortunate and both your destinations coincide, my friends, you've won yourself a very cheap ride. I've done it multiple times. Even some of my friends have tried it and it works like a charm. The driver usually charges per person and not per trip.
Remember that taxi cars could have GPS trackers on them. This means the driver will not be able to drop you at your destination. You will have to get off where your paths part ways. Talking to the driver will clarify this matter. Pay him a little more and he will drop you to your exact location. At night, be cautious while you try this. If the driver does not drop you to your destination, there will be no other form of transport until sunrise.
Here are the contact numbers I picked up from the prepaid Taxi counters for your reference. (Rates enquiry & Booking)
Panjim- 97644 98657
Margao- 75073 20020
Karmali (Old Goa Railway Station)- 79727 21022
Tivim (Closest Railway Station to Mapusa)- 9284354892
Vasco- 97647 51235
New update: There is an app that has come out called Goa Miles. I've personally used it. The fares are about 30% cheaper than the conventional charges. Payment is prepaid for now and all the drivers are screened and certified. It's been a few months since it has been released and it is a big hit.