Mumbai: With temperatures rising, passengers are preferring air-conditioned cab services like Ola and Uber to kaali-peeli taxis. Besides, the app-based aggregators are offering passengers a better ride in competitive fares.
“We have been experiencing a troubled life for the past many years, but this summer has worsened the condition,” Wasim Khan from Tardeo told The Hindu. “We now wait for passengers while they get an air-conditioned vehicle in a few minutes. We have been asking the taxi unions to install air-conditioners and other modern equipment to attract passengers.”
This is not the only story. Ramapati Jha from Mumbai Central, said, “Earlier my earnings were around ?1,700 a day, but now I hardly earn ?600-700. This is becoming difficult as I have to look after my family.”
Fifty-five-year-old Rama-pati Tiwari, who every day travels from Nalasopara to drive a taxi in the city, said the government should think about their livelihood. “At this age, I can’t work like Ola or Uber drivers. People like me have spent driving taxis for more than 20 years now. I hardly earn anything these days.”
However, taxi unions are waiting for the government to act on their demand of issuing a notification on the rules for tourist taxis. In 1997, there were nearly 63,000 taxis, and now the numbers have come down to nearly 38,000. Of the 38,000 taxis, around 20,000 taxis are on roads. There are around nine lakh taxi passengers in the city. Nearly 8,000 traditional taxi drivers have got themselves registered with Ola and Uber.
Approximately, there are nearly one lakh tourist taxis in the city and 5,000 fleet taxis under Meru and Tabcab. Anthony L. Quadros, general secretary, Mumbai Taximen’s Union, said, “The unions are getting complaints from most of the taxi drivers about the drop in earnings due to Ola and Uber services. We are working for the welfare of the drivers and waiting for the government notifications.”
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