Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sit back & relax as hired chauffeurs steer you out of traffic congestion

Sit back & relax as hired chauffeurs steer you out of traffic congestion

More and more car owners are opting for chauffeurs to avoid the stressful trip on city roads due to traffic congestion and other bottlenecks confronting them every day. The demand for chauffeurs is making driver service agencies in the city busy as their phones keep ringing, Shwetha S reports

Shwetha S

If you are an efficient driver with long experience but currently jobless, contact any driver service agency. There is demand for competent chauffeurs as car owners are finding driving through the congested city roads stressful.
"I own car which I've been driving for the past three years. Nowadays, I don't feel like sitting behind the wheel. Traffic chaos and the bad roads gave me so much strain I decided to engage a driver. For the last three months, he comes on an hourly basis. So when I go for shopping, picking my children from school, or visiting my relatives, I just sit, close my eyes and relax till I reach the destination," said Jayashree, a resident of Koramangala.
"For the past seven years, I had been driving from my home on Bannerghatta Road to my office on Sarjapura Road. But from August last, I began hiring drivers whenever I've important official meetings. I want to sit and relax on such occasions instead of getting tensed up. Now the stress is gone and I feel more confident," said Anandh Kumar, an IT employee.
In early days, only the elite used to engage chauffeurs. Now with most homes having cars, even middle-class and upper middle-class families are seeking them.
This has led to the mushrooming of several driver service agencies in the city which are getting frequent calls from customers asking for drivers. Due to competition, the agencies have become professional. They give intensive training to their team to drive high-end cars. All drivers are given IDs.
Earlier, these agencies used to send chauffeurs for long distance travel or to local customers who don't know driving. Now the demand for chauffeurs has reached such an extent that customers have to book them two to three days in advance.
"We've been running this agency for the past two years. During this time, there has been a steady increase in demand for drivers. This doubled during the past seven months. Normally, customers engage them for an hour in city areas for shopping, or dropping and picking them up from their offices," said an officer working with Fast Car Driving Agency.
"There is big demand for drivers in our agency. We're training them to drive all types of models. We also teach them about body language and spoken skills especially in English and Kannada. This is compulsory," said the official who did not want to be identified.
"On an average, we receive not less than 20 to 25 calls from customers every day. For engaging the driver for one whole day, we charge Rs350 from customers," he said.
SK Driving Agency said the company is recruiting more drivers to meet the demand.
"The demand for long agency is still there. But most of the customers who contact us want to engage drivers to drive around the city. Most of our customers are aged between 35 and 50 years. They want to be dropped and picked up from their offices," said an official of the agency.
"With demand on the rise, we are hiring drivers and giving them training. We focus on body language, spoken English, and speed limit. A driver should have at least 10 years of experience. He should be able to drive all types of cars. We charge from customers Rs200 for four hours," he said.
City Drivers Agency started only a few months ago. But they are already getting calls from customers to drive them around the city and beyond.
"Every day, we receive about 30 calls from customers for college drop, office meetings, shopping, or exams. The first 15 days of training for drivers will be on improving their spoken language skills, behaviour, body language, and speed limit. We also train them to handle high end luxury models as most of our customers are from the elite group," said a official of the agency.
"We charge Rs150 for four hours and charge Rs40 for every extra hour. Considering the big demand from


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