• Wed. Nov 16th, 2022

‘We’re canceling trips to get home early’: Taxi drivers’ responses to commuter complaints | Kolkata News

ByElla E. Kidwell

May 17, 2022
Enforcement taxis have been at the center of commuters’ ire since the lockdown curbs were lifted. Complaints were frequent and many reached police stations. We have, from time to time, spoken to passengers who have been the target of whims and demands for extortion from drivers. Today we talk to two riders to find out what drives them to behave the way they do.
Excuse 1: We’re canceling trips to get home early
Why are you canceling trips?
Sometimes there are emergencies at home. A driver tries to drive a certain distance so he can disconnect and get home in time. Another reason behind declines and cancellations, especially at night, is that we tend to choose drop off locations closer to home and when we don’t get that, we decline.
Why are you asking passengers to cancel trips?
If I cancel three consecutive trips, the system will disconnect me for five hours and also demand an explanation. As we can see the destination on the system these days, in case we don’t like it, we ask the passenger to cancel it. Some unscrupulous drivers go so far as to approach the pick-up point and then refuse. The passenger is obliged to cancel the journey after the loss of time. There are also places that drivers tend to avoid for fear of trouble.
Why don’t you turn on the air conditioning?
Turning on the air conditioning reduces the mileage of the car by at least 4 km, which means that a liter of gasoline barely works for 10 km with the air conditioning on. With a liter that costs
almost Rs 100, we can’t make profit with the amount of money we get paid per trip. When the surge is high and we get around Rs 30 per km, we turn on the air conditioning but on other occasions when we barely get Rs 11 per km, we turn them off.
Why do you insist on cash payments?
Sometimes a car is driven by several drivers. Therefore, some drivers prefer cash payments to have the cash in hand and take their share of the day from there without waiting for the owner to transfer it to them or withhold payments for the day for any excuse. Also, sometimes we ask for money to fill the car.
How much do bad grades hurt a driver?
A bad grade hurts us. My landlord tells me not to misbehave with passengers at all costs. So I beg the passengers to pay without the air conditioning, but if they insist, I turn it on. If we get bad ratings we don’t get enough trips and if a serious complaint is raised the drivers are taken off the list.
Excuse 2: Many of us try to avoid long journeys
Why are you canceling trips?
Sometimes drivers tend to avoid long and distant journeys, fearing the unavailability of passengers on the return trip. Some tend to avoid longer pick-ups and some try to only do short trips which often mean more revenue at the end of the day, with varying courtesy rates.
Why are you asking passengers to cancel trips?
Three consecutive cancellations from the driver take him offline for six hours. Therefore, if a driver does not get the preferred destination even after two cancellations, he asks the passenger to cancel the third to avoid losing earnings for a good part of the day. Why don’t you turn on the air conditioning? For most of the day, Ola pays partner drivers Rs 10.71 per km. Six months ago it was 7 rupees per km. But even after the hike, it’s not enough. If we activate the air conditioning, the mileage decreases further, which makes us lose even more money. We demanded complete uniformity of tariffs where AC rides should cost Rs 25 per km and non-AC rides should be available at Rs 20 per km.
Why do you insist on cash payments?
It all depends on the driver’s state of mind. Personally, I never refuse online payment, but I know drivers who refuse passengers simply because they prefer online transfer. They feel that if they don’t have the money on hand, their daily income is not justified, which is not true. It’s clean money going straight to the bank account and it’s high time drivers understood that
How much do bad grades hurt a driver?
A bad grade delays the time to take a ride. Many drivers do not realize this even now and end up displeasing the passengers, which ultimately explains his own downfall. Upon receipt of complaints, Ola checks with the driver and, depending on the nature of the complaint, disconnects us from the system for a certain period.
(As said at Tamaghna Banerjee)