Monday, October 23, 2006

Holidays hit auto drivers hard

Holidays hit auto drivers hard

The Hindu

Earnings have dipped for them in the past few days

# Reduced number of visitors has affected their business
# BMTC records 30 per cent dip in operational revenue

BANGALORE: The five-day holiday in a row on account of Deepavali and Ramzan has severely affected public transport providers in the city such as autorickshaws, city buses and city taxis.

Autorickshaw drivers appear to be the most affected lot.

Many of them, who used to choose their routes and refuse to take passengers to certain areas, were seen ferrying people without a murmur, reminding one of the Kannada saying "Paalige Bandaddu Panchaamruta."

Naveed, who was relaxing in his parked autorickshaw on Cunningham Road, told The Hindu that in the last three days he had not earned even Rs. 150.

He also has to pay the owner of the vehicle. "If I earn at least Rs. 500 a day, I can make a living, while spending Rs. 150 on LPG."

Suresh, who was seen reading a newspaper at an autorickshaw stand, said his earning on Sunday was only Rs. 100. He need not pay the owner, as he owns the autorickshaw.

For Irfan, Sunday was better as he earned Rs. 150. "In the last two days, I did not make much money," he pointed out.

Another autorickshaw driver Manju said government holidays had affected them a great deal as the arrival of visitors, who form a major chunk of customers, to the city was not much.

Also, many Bangaloreans who generally hire autorickshaws had gone out of station, affecting the business, he said.

His views were echoed by Radhakrishna, a city taxi driver.

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) recorded a 30 per cent dip in operational revenue during the last three days. BMTC managing director Upendra Tripathy said that while long route buses (say KSRTC) would earn more during these holidays, the earning by city buses get affected.

However, the corporation had not drastically reduced the number of buses on the road.

According to Mr. Tripathy, BMTC goes in for planned cancellation, wherein buses are deployed depending on the demand. "However, we ensure that no commuter is stranded on the road," he added. Over 80,000 autorickshaws, 2,000 city taxis and 4,500 BMTC buses ply in the city.


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