• Wed. Nov 16th, 2022

Rising Diesel Prices and Lack of Customers Push Taxi Drivers to Quit the Wheel in Bangalore | Bangalore News

BENGALURU: Many of the city’s drivers are leaving app-based taxi platforms, unable to withstand the double blow of soaring diesel prices and reduced demand due to Covid-19 restrictions.
In Bengaluru, diesel and gasoline prices hit a record high of Rs 85.84 and Rs 93.61 per liter, respectively, on Monday. In addition to rising fuel prices, the demand for taxis has fallen, mainly due to the work-from-home model in place. Transportation service records show that there are around 2 lakhs of registered taxis in the city. However, the number of taxis on the roads is now lower than before Covid.
This trend is likely to further increase the waiting time for taxis and the rise in prices of Ola and Uber vehicles. The average waiting time for taxis in town now exceeds 15 minutes. During this time, many drivers have definitely turned to other activities like selling vegetables.
Air passengers arriving at Kempegowda International Airport are the most affected, where the average wait time for app-based taxis is around 30 minutes. “Last week there was a huge queue for taxis at the airport, but hardly any vehicles were available. Taxi drivers say this kind of shortage is now common. It also drives up prices, ”said Anitha S, a passenger.
While some people, including technicians, quit low-paying jobs and took out loans to become taxi drivers when Ola and Uber launched services in the city, promising huge incentives, driving for the same taxi aggregators no longer seems viable. Sources say several vehicles have been seized by private financial institutions for defaulting on EMI payments. Some drivers have even voluntarily handed over their cars to banks because they cannot afford the IMEs.
Tanveer Pasha, a taxi union leader, said: “Many financial institutions are threatening to seize vehicles even though the drivers have no money to make a living. About 30% of the drivers are still in their villages and not ready to return to Bangalore. Taxi aggregators only pay around Rs 10 per km, which is not even enough to pay the rent. Many people are reluctant to use taxis due to fear of the virus. ”
K Somashekhar, president of the Namma Chalakara union, said: “Banks and financial institutions seize our vehicles on a daily basis. Many drivers have now taken on other jobs such as selling vegetables and doing construction work. Now diesel prices have also increased northward. So there is no point in driving vehicles. Despite several petitions, the government has not looked at our plight.
2.1L drivers are compensated
During the May 2020 lockdown, the state government announced compensation of Rs 5,000 each for around 7.5 lakh for car and taxi drivers in Karnataka. Ministry of Transportation officials said they received 2.4 lakh claims from the drivers and paid the relief amount to 2.1 lakh claimants.
“As proof of conduct was required, the number of beneficiaries claiming compensation was lower. We sent a proposal to the state government to revise the rates for app-based taxis, including Ola and Uber. There is no authority to impose surcharges and tariffs should be within the tariff structure set by the government, ”said an official from the Department of Transportation.