Taxi drivers

App-based taxi drivers and delivery managers battle rising fuel prices

Transport operators, taxi drivers and even delivery people who have attached themselves to apps have been hit hard by soaring fuel prices.

For some, like Rana Pratap who works as a delivery executive, life becomes “unbearable” as he spends most of his income on fuel. “Every day we spend between ₹350 and ₹500 just for fuel. There are people who spend 12-15 hours on the road. Along with fuel expenses, there are other costs such as food and vehicle maintenance twice a month,” he said.

Most food delivery partners don’t have the luxury of transporting food from home and rely on roadside restaurants. “At a time when our daily expenses are increasing, our delivery revenue has dropped drastically due to a new remuneration system introduced by our aggregator,” Pratap added.

For transport operators who provide services to IT companies and tourists, the problem is compounded by other factors such as the shortage of vehicles. Many operators had sold their vehicles during the pandemic and are reluctant to re-enter given the current situation.

“Diesel prices are touching ₹95. We had planned to raise the tariffs considering the constantly rising prices but we have dropped them for now as we hope the tariffs might come down in May,” said Radhakrishna Holla , President of Karnataka State Tour Operators Association.

Meanwhile, due to the surge in bulk diesel purchases, trucking companies across the state are sending their vehicles to retail outlets for refueling. “It is an inevitable decision to ease the financial burden. By purchasing fuel from retail outlets, we save ₹14 per liter of diesel,” said an official from Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC).

People who depend on private vehicles to get around are also demanding that the state and central government reduce the cost of fuel. “I spend nearly ₹4,500-5,000 on fuel every month. Last year the government stepped in, and they should do it again,” said Jayashankar from Bengaluru, who relies on his car to get around.