Cab, taxi service operators witness dip in business

Coronavirus: Cab and taxi service operators witness dip in business due to COVID-19 fear

Cab and taxi service operators who witnessed a dip in business thanks to the global economic slowdown are staring at a major crisis as travel restrictions and work from home option have been shaking the very ground they operate on.

In the last few days, an increasing number of companies in the business and industrial corridors are telling their employees to work from home due to fear of contracting coronavirus. Many companies have stopped sending their employees abroad. 

While the strategy is seen as an effective way to check the spread of the virus, it has cut into the business of taxi operators. About 2 lakh vehicles are deployed by operators who provide chartered and ‘on-call’ booking service to such companies.  

Service providers, under the Karnataka State Travel Operators’ Association, have demanded the Union government to slash the direct and indirect taxes on taxi service to help them deal with the crisis.

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Association president Radhakrishna Holla said only about 10% of the 35,000-40,000 vehicles affiliated to the association was in operation in the last few days.

“On average, about 90% of the vehicles would be on duty with most of them deployed for pick-up and drop facilities in the IT-BT corridors as well as for airport service. In the last six months, we have seen a gradual erosion of business. Now, the fear of coronavirus is threatening to shut us down,” he said.

He said about 12% of their earnings go for various taxes and urged the Union government to reduce the same to mitigate the burden. “The fall in revenue has made it difficult to service the vehicle loans,” he said. The Indian Vehicle Drivers Trade Union wrote to Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwath Narayan stating that 1.83 lakh vehicles, including those associated with Ola and Uber, are under pressure as revenue has come down by 50% due to the travel restrictions.

“Half the drivers could save about Rs 500 when they earned about Rs 3,000 per day. They are finding it difficult to make ends meet after companies cancelled the services in the wake of the Covid-19 threat,” G Sadanandaswami of the Union said, urging the government to issue an order to the banks to provide more time for loan payments.

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