The registration of new taxis in the city has dropped for the second consecutive year.
While it touched a peak in 2016-17 with a figure of 32,479, in 2017-18, it dropped for the first time with 16,595 vehicles hitting the road. The downward trend continued in 2018-19 with only 16,274 taxis being registered.
The presence of many taxi aggregators, lack of enough bookings, and long durations on the roads because of heavy traffic are among the reasons discouraging people in investing in taxis, officials said.
Some Transport Department officials said the negative growth in registration of taxis also indicates that the market has reached a saturation level in the city.
There were only 46,235 taxis as on March, 2012. The number increased with aggregators like Ola and Uber coming in. As of May 2019, the city had 1.75 lakh taxis.
President of the Bangalore Tourist Taxi Owners Association Radhakrishna Holla said, “There are various reasons for the drop in registration, such as repeated changes in policies and a drop in business. In the city, in the last four months, business for high-end taxis dropped by at least by 40%. It is not only in Bengaluru, it can be seen in other cities as well.”
The drivers who have attached their vehicles with the aggregators also say revenue has been dropping over the years. Cab driver Nandeesha said, “The aggregators are no more offering good incentives for the drivers. Only on certain trips, like city to the airport, do drivers gets some revenue. Every day, I get a target to complete 12 trips, and to complete that we have to spend more than 12 hours on the traffic-choked roads.”
Another driver Manjunatha said, “The drivers are finding it difficult to pay the EMI for the vehicle, with the cost of fuel and maintenance increasing. We are paying up to 30% commission to the aggregators. Though the department has fixed some cab fare depending on the cost of vehicle, drivers have not benefited from that.”
In Bengaluru, the transport department has permitted eight taxi operators, including mobile app-based taxi aggregators, to operate in the city limits.
A transport department official said, “When big entrants came into the market, they offered huge incentives to attract drivers. That is when people started investing money on taxis. However, after 2017, the trend changed. Due to lower revenue and increased cost of operations because of fuel prices, people stopped investing in taxis. Last year too, the trend was similar for the same reason.”