About 1,800 rental vehicles ply in the district. Some 3,400 owners and drivers depend on these for their livelihood. (Representational Photo:AFP)
KADAPA: While the Corona epidemic is hurting all people in terms of livelihood, the more severe second phase of the pandemic’s spread has badly affected both owners and workers of taxi cabs.
This segment of the population had somehow recovered from the first wave but was floored in the past two months of the intense virus spread. Monthly instalments to banks as EMIs for their vehicles had perforce to be continued even as their earnings came down. Worse, family maintenance became more difficult.
On days when vehicle got a run, they made some money, but had to sit back at home for most days without work.
The system of vehicle rentals has touched a low as people have mostly stopped travel. Vehicles are not allowed to ply after 12 am, unless absolutely necessary. Police harassment too adds to the drivers’ misery.
About 1,800 rental vehicles ply in the district. Some 3,400 owners and drivers depend on these for their livelihood. The curfew and lockdowns in the state did them in.
Many drivers have begun looking for other employment, but are getting no work. Most of them live on rented space and landlords are getting restive over delay in payment of rent. "We borrow from our acquaintances to support our families. Vehicle owners too are struggling to pay their EMIs to banks," stated a driver.
Suresh, who operates his own vehicle from the taxi-stand at the Collectorate said vehicles are mostly idling away. There are no wedding events or festivals. People hardly travel. The finance company, he said, is after him for delayed instalments.
Another driver, Subhan, said he does not know how to repay his debts. Previously there was about 20 days’ work in a month. In addition to the salary paid by the vehicle owner, he would get Rs 500 per day if he worked overtime. Now there is very little of money coming to his hand and thefamily management has become difficult.
Driver Narasimha Yadav said the Coronavirus had deeply hurt the lives of drivers. He would put the vehicle on the stand and sit back. End of the day, there were times he returned home empty-handed.