Probably, this mode of transport is active only in this State of India – The Motorcycle Pilot! There’s nothing amusing about the motorcycle ‘taxis’ to locals like how tourists find them. It is probably because we have seen our mothers returning home from the market seated pillion on such ‘taxis’. It was absolutely acceptable to even put the palm on the shoulder of the ‘pilot’ for safety. Also, it is the quickest mode of transport considering the extremely jammed city roads which only the ‘pilots’ can weave in and out of!
The motorcycles are painted black and yellow like taxis or rickshaws, and have their own waiting stands in every city and village of Goa. This system of ferrying customers originated during the Portuguese rule and was widely accepted by the State Government.
These ‘pilots’ even have their own union and rules which they follow stringently. It is rare to see a ‘pilot’ misbehave with women and if they do, other pilots will admonish him immediately. In fact, I have witnessed how the Margao ‘pilots’ once beat up a person who was harassing a young girl. These guys are extremely helpful to elderly ladies who only use their favorite pilot for years on end. They take them to the market, carry their bags and even wait for them outside the doctor’s clinics while they get themselves checked on their periodical visits to the clinic. Staying far away from all forms of rash riding even if their clients coax them to. There are a negligible amount of rash riding incidents involving motorcycle pilots in Goa.
Hat’s off to our ‘pilots’ who bear the rigours of the seasons and maintain a high code of conduct and discipline. Sometimes, they have to wait for hours for customers, specially in the monsoon months when people prefer to take the rickshaws. Their stands do not have shaded structures and have to leave their motorcycles in the rain whilst they take cover under buildings. Yet, even though they have hardships, every customer is greeted with a smile and a cordial greeting.
Next time you are in Goa, do take a ride on one of our ‘motorcycle taxis’ and do remember to leave the ‘pilot’ a good tip for his services. Let’s contribute towards making this very unique Goan service alive!mode of transportation alive!