Hyderabad: Once again, with the surge in Covid cases, taxi drivers in the city are facing serious difficulties as few people use taxi services for fear of the virus spreading. Every year, the Sankranti period brings extra income to taxi drivers, but this year the pandemic has hit them hard; they earn almost nothing.
Several taxi drivers in the city have pointed out that with the Covid epidemic from the first wave, their activity has been seriously affected. But gradually, it was falling into place. But once again, the Omicron variant dashed their hopes. They recalled that many drivers opted for odd jobs during the first and second waves. Out of 1.5 lakh taxis, about 60,000 circulate in the city.
Faheemuddin, a taxi driver, said: “For fear of the new variant of Covid, many people are canceling their journeys. Every year during Sankranti we used to be full of bookings, but now we hardly get any. Apart from that, even if there are passengers getting into our taxis without a mask, we are penalized. If this situation lasts longer, we will be forced to opt for other jobs.
Shaik Salauddin, President of the Telangana Gig and Platform Workers Union (TGPWU), Shaik Salauddin pointed out, “Slowly the life of a taxi driver was returning to normal, but with the outbreak of Omicron, it became miserable again. The mobile app based taxi operators never cared about the safety of the drivers, no safety kit is provided to them, they specified the safety precautions after each ride, like the car must be disinfected, the drivers wear masks. We are forced to buy all these products. First, we are badly affected by low incomes and these additional expenses weigh on us. Neither the state government nor the taxi drivers cared about the fate of the drivers taxi.
Lakshmi, another taxi driver, said, “Before Covid, we used to earn around Rs 20,000 per month, but now barely Rs 5,000. Every year we wait for Sankranti, because there is huge demand. But this year, we hardly received any reservations. . Omicron messed up our business during this holiday period. If this situation continues, how am I going to survive, because I am the only breadwinner in my house.”