Despite the reduction in the cost of fuel, rickshaw and taxi drivers still struggle with financial hardship, which prevents them from making ends meet. There are indications that some drivers are abandoning the profession and seeking other means of support.
Drivers say fuel prices are still prohibitive. The frequent increase in fuel prices is a severe setback for drivers, preventing them from continuing to operate without incurring losses.
“Rising fuel prices are burning a hole in our pockets. With the rising prices of various commodities, we are struggling to earn enough money to support our families,” said taxi driver T. Ravi.
According to the drivers, the minimum fare is insufficient to cover fuel and other expenses, forcing them to raise the fare, which has resulted in lower ridership.
B Subramani, a rickshaw driver, said, “On average, we spend around ₹500 per day on fuel, but we barely earn ₹400. So we are forced to pay extra money. Many of us find it difficult to pay EMI. (Equivalent monthly payments) or spent on the maintenance of our vehicles.”
Mr Keshavan, an autorickshaw driver who transports schoolchildren, regretted that to stay in business he would have to raise the monthly charge per child. “If fuel prices continue to rise, I will have no choice but to hike. I am currently charging ₹1,000 per child for a return school trip,” he said . The Hindu.
Some have chosen to temporarily quit this business until the situation improves, and as a result the number of vehicles on the stands has decreased, they claim.
“The drivers gave up work and sold their vehicles to pay off their debts. Fuel price hikes and unrevised fares are the main reasons for the difficulties drivers are facing,” said Vasanth, a taxi driver.
“Many of us are driving with app-based services, and the aggregators haven’t revised the fare yet, so we have to refrain from taking trips, because we have to spend more out of our pockets than we earn” , said R. Manikandan, an autorickshaw driver.