Overworked, sleepy cabbies put passengers, commuters in peril

Overworked, sleepy cabbies put passengers, commuters in peril

Cab service is a business on rise in City with one company vying with another promising ease and comfort in travel to customers. The increasing competition among these companies has resulted in stress and pressure on cab drivers.

Due to immense work pressure, drivers often have to endure sleepless nights with work stretching late into night, resulting in negligent driving, putting their lives and those of others at risk. Hours are spent waiting for a potential customer at the airport which make them drowsy.

The experience of Anusha Sridhar, an IT professional, is a case in point. Recently, she had the shock of her life when the cab driver fell asleep at a signal.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, she recalled her panic when she realised the driver had fallen asleep in the middle of the journey. “This got me really frightened since it was so risky. My mother who was travelling with me also panicked. I had to chat with the driver to make sure he did not fall asleep again. That is when he told me that he was overworked and had not slept for two days,” she said.

Cab drivers are candid about their work situation. They are exhausted most of the time and simply do not get sufficient rest.

“I quit my job at a private cab company recently because I realised I could not meet their demands without losing my sleep over it, literally,” said Satish (name changed), who worked with a prominent cab company until last week. “It is all on the basis of a contract, nobody questions the authorities. When we tried to have our concerns addressed, they had asked us simply to quit if we could not handle the pressure,” he added.

According to the binding contract, drivers are expected to pay a certain sum of money, about Rs 1,500, every day if the vehicle is in their possession. On days when they are lucky, they are able to earn approximately Rs 2,000 and meet this demand. Otherwise, the driver has to pay from his pocket, regardless of whether he was able to get any customer or not, other than meeting his own expenses and refilling fuel.

“Earlier, we only had around 45,000 taxis in all for the airport and City. But after the Bengaluru InternationalAirport became operational, over 1.2 lakh new taxis have hit the roads, thanks to private cab companies. With this, competition also increased. Now, cab drivers are not able to cope with the pressure they undergo.

Often, they do not get time even to bathe and clean themselves and end up working for hours at a stretch,” Bangalore Tourist Taxi Owners Association general secretary Radha  Krishna Holla told Deccan Herald.

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