Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Goa's Motorcycle pilots - a unique breed.

  Goa is known all over the world for a host of things vmotorcycle pilotsery unique to the state. The motorcycle pilot in Goa is just another one of them. A unique trade, the motorcycle pilots as they are fondly referred to in Goa have always been received warmly by the tourists coming to Goa owing to the cheaper means of conveyance while also being able to enjoy the green view of Goa in open and naturally aromatic freshly whizzing Goan breeze.

A pillion ride on a motorcycle pilot's bike can be a pleasure trip, in all kinds  of weather, be it rain or shine. Fuel prices notwithstanding, the Goa motorcycle pilots are a rare breed found only in the state of Goa within the Indian union.

The whole of Goa is host to this very peculiar trade of motorcycle pilots who have ferried millions of people to their destinations over the years and continue to do so till date. The motorcycle pilot has been often viewed as the speedy answer to a comfortable and affordable means of conveyance for one and all. Some have faithfully stuck to the motorcycle pilots preferring them over the rickshaws and the taxis or even the buses  in Goa.

It is not clear how the trade of the motorcycle pilots came into existence in Goa. However it has to be attributed to the rather non-motorable terrains in Goa in earlier times which seems to have given birth to this breed of pilots who have intervened to sort out the problem.Although the buses in Goa may be a cheaper option, they are unable to drop the passengers right upto the doorstep, something which the motorcycle pilots can do effortlessly. Goa's terrain and geographical ambience surely aids the pilots who ride adroitly and zip and zoom through green village field paths,mud roads or among the cattle and thick forest foliages , dodging cats , cows, buffaloes and dogs who often park themselves right in the middle of the road.

Painted in the taxi colour of yellow and black the bike of the motorcycle pilot provides the pillion rider a whiff of fresh air and breeze musing through your hair and running past your ears and the sun shining on your face.The clients patronising the motorcycle pilot range from the avid adventure tourist willing to launch himself into the fresh and wanton breeze of Gomotorcyclepilot standa to the tired Goan shopper who has bags to carry home or the late student who needs to catch up with lost time, or the lost traveler who needs to find a difficult address or simply the Goan who would like to catch the Mumbai train on time the motorcycle pilot is the best to take you across.

In the olden days  of seventies and eighties, the motorcycle pilot was very attached to the "Rajdoot" and the "Yezdi" brand of motorcycles, with the two brands ruling their roads. However with the advent of the four stroke bikes, the newer brands of Hero Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki Bajaj and the Yamaha have made permanent inroads into the lives of the motorcycle pilots who have adopted these newer modes into their brand of living.

In recent times the motorcycle pilots  have come out to form an association to place their grievances before the government of goa. Under the banner of " the Goa Motorcycle taxi riders association" the  pilots , organised a peaceful dharna last month and submitted a memorandum to the government to look into their grievances.

Demanding appropriate shades for them at the KTC bus stands in Goa to conduct smooth business, they have urged the RTO ( road transport organisation) of Goa to take them into confidence before issuing permits to new entrants in the trade in Goa. They have also sought restrictions on the rent-a-bike businesses mushrooming in Goa and a ban on renting out of private motorcycles.

The association also demanded that the old-age scheme be extended to them and other homeless pilots to be allotted plots of land for constructing houses.

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