Guwahati Cab Operators In A Tight Spot Despite 'Unlock'
With the new strategy undertaken by the Assam government to bring the economy back on track, the eased lockdown termed as 'Unlock' has helped traders as well as commercial establishments to see a semblance of hope.
However, the same is not the case with the Guwahati's cab drivers – a profession that was thriving not too back in time helping a lot of families to keep their heads above the surging waters of poverty.
"The government has announced 'Unlock' but do you think we are making any money at all? No, we hardly get any passengers the entire day," said a Ola cab driver.
Speaking to G Plus Santosh Saha (name changed) said, "I came out of my house at 5:30 in the morning in search of passengers but it’s now (9:00 AM) that I have got my first passenger."
The cab drivers in the city allegedly are in dire straits, even more, today despite the state government giving them the green signal to hit the streets and resume services.
It is to be mentioned that because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic people are apprehensive of boarding cabs and public transport with the fear of transmission of the disease lurking in their minds.
"It’s only Rs. 100-120 that we take back home at the end of the day. I think even beggars earn more nowadays. But what to do? Can’t sit idle at home,” said an Uber driver.
The cab drivers registered with the Ola/Uber have to pay a royalty of 20-25 percent to the parent company and along with that also comes maintenance and fuel charges which again are completely borne by the cab drivers.
With the fuel prices of petrol and diesel going up and with special ride offers from the app-based cab service, the drivers are truly in dire straits when it comes to plying their cabs.
Not all is well with the bike-taxi service operators either as they have been restricted to extending their services to only female passengers.
With this directive coming up from the state government of allowing only female passengers on bike-taxis the probability of getting a passenger has become much worse as female passengers hardly book bike-taxis.
Speaking to G Plus, a Rapido (Bike-taxi) provider said, “Earlier it was good and we used to earn minimum Rs. 500 a day but now it’s only Rs. 50-80.”
Rajib Deka who plies his bike under Rapido said that ‘Unlock' has not helped them at all. Further, he said that if the government thinks that not allowing a male passenger on a bike/scooter can stop COVID-19, then it is baseless.
Although guidelines are in place, the plight of the city cab drivers continues to be woeful and their livelihoods are at stake especially now with the extended “ward-wise” lockdown.